Regina Graham

HUNDREDS of motorists were arrested and more than a thousand payments were made in unpaid traffic fines during the city’s recent “blitz” against errant motorists.

“During the operation traffic officials processed 273 warrants of arrest at roadblocks, 597 warrants were processed when officials visited homes and businesses, and 159 warrants were processed with the assistance of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition System (ANPR) cameras,” said Cape Town Traffic Services spokesperson Kevin Jacobs.

Police specifically targeted motorists who flagrantly violated traffic laws and those with outstanding warrants of arrest.

Motorists with three or more warrants of arrest outstanding were arrested, while those with fewer and those with unpaid traffic fines were given a strong warning, said Jacobs.

Officials had collected 1 234 payments for unpaid traffic fines from May 30 to June 3, he said.

Jacobs said the total amount of money collected during the blitz was yet to be calculated while the exact number of arrests was not yet known.

When the operation began the unpaid fines totalled R592 851 710.

As part of the operation, officials also tracked motorists down at their homes, visiting about 963 residences.

Jacobs said the roadblocks would continue, but on a smaller scale.

“Members of the public are urged to make a concerted effort to settle their fines and outstanding warrants so as not to be caught up in one of the roadblocks,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Cape Chamber of Commerce has voiced its reservations about the operation.

Its president Michael Bagraim said it was necessary for traffic officers to constantly serve as a visible presence, instead of simply making it a one-off “statement”.

“You can’t do it as a statement and then not block people again. Our strong belief at the chamber is that they need to put more traffic cops on the road and they need to be seen,” said Bagraim.

He said at the time that police were seemingly doing a good job but “it only happened twice and somehow the pressure was off”.

Jacobs said various payment options had been made available for motorists with unpaid fines.

He said the SAPS and provincial traffic officials would continue using the ANPR cameras, which identify whether there are outstanding warrants of arrest on a particular number plate, whether a vehicle has been suspended, and whether it is unlicensed or stolen, among other things.

Officers would also use hand-held devices to test the validity of a barcode on a driving licence card and the clearance certificate on a vehicle.

The city’s call centre can be contacted on 086 010 3089 for further information regarding venues and options available for the payment of traffic fines.

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