Road traffic spokesman is ‘willing to step down’
Road Traffic Management Corporation spokesman Ashref Ismail says he is willing to step down and face the music if there is a need for this.
This comes after media reports that he has unpaid traffic fines for speeding and drives a car with invalid licence plates and an expired licence disc.
Ismail’s personalised registration plates read as “ASHREFGP”, while his previous licence number was “BD55CJGP”.
On Wednesday, Ismail defended himself, saying he had asked to have his old personalised plates installed on the white Land Rover Discovery 4 as soon as “I had a chance to do so”.
He said the vehicle was parked in the RTMC’s basement and had not been in use. But sources said the vehicle had been going in and out of the basement for the past three months.
The licence disc expired on March 31.
The Star, the Daily News’s sister newspaper, has revealed that Ismail, who has been vocal about speeding motorists, owes the traffic department R6 500 in fines.
Five of these are long outstanding and were issued between March 2009 and last year.
Ismail’s traffic fines include speeding, driving an unlicensed vehicle, and parking in an unauthorised area.
In October, Ismail received a speeding fine after doing between 91km/h and 95km/h in a 60km/h zone.
In 2009, he was fined R15 560 for speeding after he was caught travelling between 96km/h and 100km/h in a 60km/h zone.
In April last year, he was issued with a R750 fine in Tshwane for travelling between 101km/h and 105km/h in an 80km zone.
Again in April, Ismail got another R1 000 fine for driving an unlicensed vehicle, and another R250 fine for the same offence.
Earlier this year, Ismail said speeding and drinking and driving had contributed heavily to the more than 800 deaths on the roads during the festive season.
“Major contributory factors remain speeds too high for circumstances, especially at night and during inclement weather, drinking and driving, drinking and walking, and dangerous overtaking on barrier lines in the face of oncoming traffic,” Ismail had said.
Howard Dembovsky, national chairman of the Justice Project South Africa, said: “When any person purports to be an enforcer of traffic laws and a proponent of road safety, as is the case with Mr Ismail, who is in charge of road traffic law enforcement co-ordination at the RTMC, saying: ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ is disingenuous at best.
“This is the same man who likes to point fingers at motorists, calling them lawless, and saying they have no respect for traffic laws.”
Asked on Wednesday if he was aware that he had outstanding traffic fines, Ismail said: “I will check what fines for which vehicles are outstanding, and if there are any traffic fines that are against my name that I or my family members are responsible for (they) will be settled.”
On Sunday, he changed his tune, saying politely: “I’m working on it.” He was willing to step down if an investigation was begun against him. “I’m willing to do whatever needs to be done,” he said. - Daily news Correspondent