DURBAN - Metro police have not issued a single speeding fine in the past two years after an impasse between itself and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) over the financial model used to issue and collect money for fines.

In 2017, the NPA red-flagged the model, while it is believed that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had raised concerns relating to the electronic enforcement contract between the city and the company providing the cameras.

This means offences caught on static cameras, including motorists who failed to stop at red traffic lights, and those who flouted the speed limit and drove in lanes designated for public transport vehicles, had not been punished.

Other fines related to parking violations, unroadworthy vehicles and drunk driving were not affected.

The matter was raised at a recent meeting of the city’s security and emergency services committee.

The committee said the matter had been sitting with the NPA for the past two years.

However the committee, which is chaired by deputy mayor Fawzia Peer, believes that the contract is legal and above board. According to the committee, in addition to limited collection processes, there was no access to roadblock technology from the service provider.

DA councillor Pete Graham said studies had shown that speed timing through cameras reduced road accidents and fatalities.

“Not having speed timing enforcement within the metro has directly led to the unnecessary deaths of residents and visitors to our city. Given the huge number of accidents on our roads every year, the introduction of more cameras could save hundreds of lives,” Graham said.

He said a study conducted by the London School of Economics and Political Science between 1992 to 2016 showed that speed cameras reduced accidents.

“I have witnessed first-hand in my time as a metro police reservist the carnage on the roads brought about by excessive speeding. We have to ensure that the situation is rectified immediately,” Graham said.

The Automobile Association of South Africa spokesperson, Layton Beard, said part of road safety was having proper and efficient law enforcement tools in place.

“If people know that these are not in use, they know there will be no repercussions and bad road behaviour will continue. This is cause for concern and should be clarified sooner rather than later,” he said.

Metro police head Steve Middleton said he was hopeful that the matter would be resolved soon.

“In the meantime, hand-held stop and charge enforcement for speeding is continuing as it has previously,” he said.

He said that last year the total number of outstanding fines stood at 330904, with the total value of the outstanding fines worth R619.7 million.

Middleton added that 76077 warrants of arrest had been issued to recoup fines. The total value of warrants of arrests for outstanding fines was R80.4m.

Middleton said the latest figures would be released later this month.

KwaZulu-Natal DPP, advocate Moipone Noko, declined to divulge the details of what had led to the halting of the enforcement operations.

“We are not in a position to divulge the details, save to say that there are matters regarding compliance that need to be addressed before we issue the authorisations or allow the continuation of the existing authorisations,” Noko said.

THE MERCURY