Cape Town - After 39 years of service, the City’s esteemed Traffic Chief, Heathcliff Thomas, has officially retired just in time to celebrate his 60th birthday today.
Thomas grew up in Silvertown and spent half his life serving residents in Cape Town as a traffic officer, a job he says he pursued thanks to his admiration of traffic officers as a young man.
Speaking at his farewell party hosted by the City’s Traffic Services, Thomas shared some of his memorable moments since joining the Traffic Service Department in 1983.
Thomas said he was appointed Traffic Chief of the City of Tygerberg in 1997 while completing his Master’s degree, which enabled him to secure a part-time lecturing post at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology while working full-time as a traffic officer.
“I want to thank every staff member for helping to build this traffic service into one recognised as a leader nationally and internationally. I want to encourage them to continue striving for their dreams.
“Remain professional at all times, but also flexible and innovative – embrace technology and change. Do not be afraid to ask questions and take risks. Remember, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from progressing to the highest levels possible in this traffic service,” Thomas said.
During his 39 years, Thomas also served commuters and motorists in the Road Safety Education section, the Taxi Enforcement unit and the Communications Centre.
Safety and security Mayco member JP Smith said: “We have seen immense growth and investment in our traffic service. Our staff have had to contend with an ever-changing landscape and new challenges in tackling road safety.
“Chief Thomas played an integral role in getting us to where we are. It is appropriate to acknowledge where he started and his rise. He earned his stripes, and I hope his story will inspire a new generation of traffic officers.”