City manager Trevor Fowler together with senior officials in charge of the metro revealed on Thursday that Johannesburg traffic officials will be carrying out more roadblocks than before to allow officers to “personally” hand out traffic fines to offenders. this is to ensure a better result.
In 2015, Metro Police spent R16.5-million a month on fines, R9.5-million of it went towards sending fines by registered mail; the remaining R7-million being paid to the contractor in-charge of the speed cameras.
Fowler explained that the “change in strategy”, was as a result of the fact that a good number of fines have been declared invalid as it was not known if the offenders actually received the fines sent to them because of the four-month strike by SA Post Office employees in 2014.
Director of group financial accounting in the City of Johannesburg Ishwar Ramdas explained further the reason for the fines that never got to their destination: “It is not that we did not hand the fines over to the Post Office. We did hand them over but, because of the strike, they were not sent out.”
Fowler spoke during the presentation of the city’s annual report and financial statements for the year ending June 2015, to the Municipal Public Accounts Committee in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
The Johannesburg Metro Police Department issues about 400,000 traffic fines a month at an average value of R200. Though the number of “lost” fines and their values are not known, it could be that as many as 1.6million fines worth R320-million might be void.
Fowler said that to end the issue of lost fines and to save millions in postage costs, roadblocks would be set up and traffic fines served directly to motorists. He also admitted that the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act – currently undergoing trial in Johannesburg and Tshwane – was not yielding good results.
“We are moving to roadblocks because once the infringement notices are handed out personally, there will be no need to send them out by registered mail.”
“If the current obstacles experienced with Tshwane, Johannesburg, the Road Traffic Infringement Agency and the Road Traffic Management Corporation are an indication of how the roll-out will take place, the national roll-out is doomed to fail before it has started,” he added.
The roadblocks in Johannesburg will go a long way in making sure that the offenders are directly served their fines and it will also save the government a lot of money that would have been used to send the fines through mail.
Johannesburg metro police will be targeting drunk and reckless drivers, people not wearing safety belts, cars with smooth and damaged tyres and drivers passing the speed limits at roadblocks from now on.