Cape Town - 120704 - A City of Cape town employee is arrested at his home for outstanding fines and warrants during a blitz conducted by City of Cape Town traffic officials targeting the 10 worst traffic offenders who have outstanding fines and warrants totaling over R1.2 million among them. This is a result of members in the City of Cape Town Special Investigations Unit who have been working to trace the top offenders. - Photo: Matthew Jordaan

Cape Town traffic authorities have launched a crackdown on Cape Town’s 10 worst traffic offenders, who collectively have more than R1 million worth of outstanding warrants between them.

Members of the city’s Special Investigations Unit have been working in a bid to trace the biggest culprits and started arresting some of the top offenders, mostly taxi drivers, at their homes last night.

The top ten owed R1.2 million in fines, with 1396 warrants among them.

It marked the start of a city-wide operation, dubbed “Operation Payback”, to trace the top 100 offenders.

For proxies (these refer to company fleets), the top 10 companies owed R2.8 million. This was from 8992 arrest warrants.

One offender is already behind bars in Pollsmoor awaiting trial for armed robbery. The taxi driver from Athlone owes the city R40 000.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith announced this week that a team of researchers was working to trace serial offenders. These are motorists who owe R650 million from 1.5 million fines with warrants.

Earlier this year, Smith handed the provincial department of transport and public works a list of the top 100 public transport offenders. Each had large numbers of outstanding warrants of arrest for traffic offences.

Smith explained that transport MEC Robin Carlisle had then approached the offenders for reasons why their licences should be not withdrawn.

Only five had responded and “took actions to remedy the situation”.

From here, it was agreed the city would use “admin marks” on the national e-Natis system to bar those on the list from renewing their licences or vehicle registration until they dealt with their outstanding fines and warrants of arrest.

He said the new measure was a “creative way” to force the offenders to comply with road safety.

Although the top 100 offenders have already been “marked”, officers are now working their way through the rest of the database to flag the rest of motorists with warrants attached.

Smith said the city had recorded a huge increase in the number of motorists settling their fines at courts across Cape Town this week. - Cape Argus