A weekend behind bars

2014-11-24 00:00

DURBAN’S errant drivers faced a grim weekend behind bars as festive season operations from the city’s Metro Police tightened the screws.

Hundreds of people were ­arrested as police staged rolling roadblocks across the city, ­casting a metro-wide dragnet for those evading fines and ­driving under the influence.

Yesterday fleets of unmanned taxis and cars lined the streets of Warwick Triangle, with their drivers detained on outstanding traffic warrants.

With billions owed to the eThekwini Municipality, the Metro Police have set out on a clear debt collection drive.

Metro Police spokesperson Superintendent Eugene Msomi did not mince his words, ­insisting that apathetic drivers take heed of their festive season crackdown.

“We have had a series of ­roadblocks all weekend long as part of our plan leading up to the festive season. Not only have we been out in force to combat the practice of drinking and driving, but also the problem of unpaid traffic fines,” he said.

“Every roadblock held by the Metro Police will bear a specific focus on checking whether or not motorists have outstanding fines or warrants for their arrest. If that is the case we will arrest you on site,” he warned.

Msomi’s tough talk did not stop there.

“We will now give people the impetus to pay their fines, because in most instances they are more than capable of doing so. Last week 70 people were detained on outstanding traffic warrants and 50 people paid their fines on site and were free to go. “That tells us that people have the means to pay their dues and are consciously choosing not to,” he said.

“If they believe they are not guilty, or do not owe what is ­reflected on our system, they are encouraged to follow the ­processes that are in place and defend themselves in court if necessary.

“In essence, we will not be playing with kid gloves this ­festive season. If you transgress the laws, we will deal with you. People must also understand they cannot dodge their unpaid fines forever. For the festive ­season there will be roadblocks everywhere, you will be caught,” he cautioned.

Earlier this year, the Metro ­Police upped the ante, with ­admission of guilt fines for transgressions such as speeding and not making way for ­emergency vehicles doubling.

Among the biggest increases is the penalty for failing to ­comply with the instruction or direction of a traffic officer. The fine is now R2 500, more than the fine for driving a light motor vehicle without a licence, which is R2 000.

Not giving right of way to an emergency vehicle sounding a siren or displaying ­identification goes up from R500 to R1 500.

In essence we will not be playing with kid gloves this festive season. If you transgress the laws we will deal with you. People must also understand they cannot dodge their unpaid fines forever.

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