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No licence renewal for fine dodgers

Published Mar 26, 2013

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Cape Town drivers will be barred from renewing their vehicles’ licences, and even their own driving licences, until they have paid their traffic fines.

This is among tough new measures that await errant Cape Town drivers to force them to obey the rules of the road - or be banned from driving.

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The City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said the new measures were the work of a traffic task team, which had been established to combat lawlessness on the roads.

“Drivers’ behaviour will only change when they feel the consequences of breaking the law.

“Until now, there has been a belief by some that if they do not pay their fines, there will be no consequences,” said Smith.

ADMIN MARK

Even warrants of arrest were not deterring many, Smith said, adding that fines totalling R489 million remained unpaid despite the issuing of warrants.

“So we have introduced the ‘Admin Mark’,” he said. This was a mark against drivers’ names on the electronic eNaTis system, for those drivers for whom warrants of arrest had been issued.

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“Once a driver has a ‘mark’ behind their name, they will not be able to renew their vehicles’ licences, or their driver’s licence,” he said.

Drivers caught without licences or vehicle licences will have their vehicles impounded, a measure under new legislation, by the provincial transport department.

OPERATION RECLAIM

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Smith said they had doubled their capacity for Operation Reclaim to snare drivers with warrants of arrest. Thirty new staffers had been trained and appointed, and roadblocks were now taking place 10 or 11 times a week, up from seven.

In addition to these roadblocks, Smith said, traffic officers across the city now had hand-held radios on which they could enter number plate details, and which would notify them in seconds if a driver had outstanding warrants.

New laws were planned which would force drivers to prove their physical addresses when renewing their licences.

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This would enable officers to serve more summonses directly, and enforce subsequent arrest warrants.

CITY OF BAD DRIVERS

Sad but true – Cape Town drivers pay scant attention to the rules of the road.

This lawlessness was starkly proven on Monday when we accompanied two Ghost Squad officers from the traffic department on a brief outing in their unmarked car.

The trip followed a typical commute from a suburb of Somerset West, along the N2 towards central Cape Town.

And to prove the point, the officers left it to us to spot the violations.

In just 60 minutes, we recorded 59 offences - nearly one every minute - and this on a quiet Monday afternoon.

In the worst case, a high-powered Chevrolet Lumina sports car raced down the N2, weaving in between traffic, before accelerating at speed off towards the airport.

Ghost squad officer John Bezuidenhout gunned the unmarked VW Golf GTi, and rapidly caught up. Unaware that an officer was on his tail, the driver sped on and for several seconds the Chev was recorded at up to 182km/h. The driver was not fined, however, as he had not been officially recorded.

At times we were unable to record multiple offences occurring simultaneously.

60 MINUTES OF LAWLESSNESS: 59 OFFENCES:

Missing number plates: 7.

Obscured or outdated number plates: 19.

No seatbelt: 1.

SMSing while driving: 1.

Talking on a cellphone while driving: 1.

Illegal right turn: 2.

Illegal u-turn over painted traffic island: 1.

Unroadworthy vehicle (smashed left rear lights): 1.

Tailgating: 2.

Speeding (based the speed of the following patrol vehicle – not recorded): 4.

Reckless and dangerous driving: 1.

Over-loading: 1.

Turning or changing lanes without indicating: 16.

Shooting a red robot: 2.

In addition, there were too many instances of jaywalking to record, including on the N2, also punishable offences. These were not recorded in the total, but it is routinely found that pedestrian deaths account for almost half of all road deaths in South Africa. - Cape Argus

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