Since its inception in 2012, the traffic police in Cape town has recorded a high rate of seized cellphones from drivers who were caught using their handsets without legal hands-free kits.
In a bid to create safety measures and to reduce road accident, the Cape Town provincial government enacted a bylaw called “Traffic Bylaw 2011” which took effect in 2012.
The bylaw authorizes officials to confiscate and impound a driver’s cell phone when they are caught contravening this regulation/bylaw. The bylaw further places obligations on the officials to tell the drivers of the reasons for the confiscation, issue a receipt for the device and tell the owner where to pick up the device. Offending drivers would then pay R1 140 to have their phones released.
To this, the city police is said to have recorded up to 10,000 phones that have been seized from motorists who were caught using their handsets without legal hands-free kits. “The number of phones impounded for the quarter October to December 2015 was 1,539, compared to 1,205 during the same period in 2014,” a member of the mayoral committee Alderman JP Smith said.
Meanwhile, acting on their right to sell all phones impounded after a period of three months, the city has narrated the delays they face in selling the phones off.
“There has been a delay with the disposal of cellphones primarily because the City had to wait for the processes relating to the fines attached to the contravention to run their full course in the courts, as well as due to the need to effect the removal of personal data before disposal,” Smith said.
Smith quickly added that the earlier announced plans by the officials to give phones to community organizations might not push through as a service provider have been appointed to handle the processing issues which have delayed the auction of the phones.
With the appointment of the service provider, we hope to clear personal data at a much quicker pace and with the shorter turnaround time, there might be greater appetite for auctioning the devices. All those not sold will continue to be donated to worthy organisations.”
At present, about 1259 phones have had their data removed by Zwelonke CC the new service provider.