No more speeding in Joburg as cameras are switched back on
But the jury is still out on whether this is the best way to keep traffic under control
For more than a year the city’s residents have been able to whizz past fixed cameras without worrying about getting a fine in the post for breaking the speed limit or jumping a red traffic light.
That was because the city in January 2017 decided not to renew contracts with service providers that assisted with the electronic enforcement of speed limits.
According to the city, nearly R50-million in revenue was lost during the period due to fines not being issued. Surprisingly, though, the number of road incidents decreased between 2016 and 2017.
But all that came to an end last month when the city turned the cameras back on, Johannesburg Metro Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar confirmed.
According to the city, it is currently operating under a “Regulation 32 contract” with service provider Syntell on a “month-to-month” basis.
Minnaar said at the time the decision taken by the city to cancel the previous contracts was to increase police visibility; “therefore all speed enforcement was done manually”.The portfolio manager on transport from the non-profit NPO OUTA, Rudie Heyneke, agreed with the policy of manual enforcement, telling Times Select that manned traffic violation management meant drivers were addressed directly for transgressions.
“This is a form of visible policing that will assist to reduce the number of traffic offences and to change driver behaviour,” he said.
“Traffic officers will also then be able to attend to unroadworthy vehicles, unlicensed cars and unlicensed drivers.”
But the spokesperson for NGO Drive More Safely, Lida Jones, who believed forms of law enforcement through speed cameras were no more than ways to “make money”, said more officers were required in vehicles on the road in order to reduce incidents.
She argued officers behind manual cameras were mostly hidden anyway and offered no deterrence to motorists who broke the law.“The only way drivers adhere to the road rules is when they see an officer. If they are manning cameras they have to stay there and cannot deal with other road offences.”There are only about 17,000 officers for the 750,000km of road in South Africa, with 11 million registered vehicles. Nearly 18,000 people died on South Africa's roads in 2016 at a cost of R300-billion to the economy.
According to Jones, traffic reservists should be introduced to free up more officers and create more visibility on the country’s roads.
Heyneke said that by practising manned traffic violation and control points, the metro police sent a strong message.
“Of course, there will be some who say that manned violation management has its problems, like bribes or safety issues. But those are issues authorities must deal with on an ongoing basis,” he said.