Cops reclaim unpaid fines

2014-12-23 00:00

WHILE holiday-makers surge into the province, traffic police are zeroing in on drivers with unpaid fines, which amount to over R1,6 billion.

Rolling road blocks on major routes have seen law enforcement cash-in — in an annual effort to reclaim the massive revenue deficit.

This as the province experienced a veritable black weekend, with the deaths of 19 people since Friday as a result of car accidents. Scores of people were injured.

While authorities have extolled their high- visibility approach to traffic policing, which has got errant drivers sweating, it appears to have had little impact on the spike in fatal accidents.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha confirmed that their books revealed a R12 million deficit in unpaid fines. These figures did not include fixed speed cameras that were operated by a service provider and were not available at the time of going to press.

eThekwini Metro Police’s books dwarfed those of their inland counterparts, with spokesperson Eugene Msomi saying that ­officers were out in force with an aim of ­reclaiming the R1,6 billion deficit in unpaid traffic fines in Durban.

“As things stand, the eThekwini Metro Police have a massive amount of unpaid fines and we want to send a message to errant road users that we are collecting,” he said.

He said that their festive season enforcement campaign had two objectives, firstly curbing the high number of deaths as a result of road traffic accidents and secondly reclaiming a chunk of revenue from unpaid fines.

“We have flooded the streets with officers and have been conducting road blocks in strategic locations where we have been checking whether or not drivers have warrants for not paying their bills.

“This has got people sweating and they are working like a charm,” he said.

He cited widespread apathy of road users who refused to pay their bills.

“We have roadblocks and find people with warrants of arrest for unpaid fines, and we force them to pay on the spot and most can. That tells us that they had the means to do so all along and they are just being obstinate,” he said.

Msomi said they would continue to keep a close eye on the roads as they were swamped by holiday-makers.

Transport Department spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said that the rod would not be spared.

“We have changed our approach this year and those who transgress the law are not given any quarter.

“We have taken to setting up 24-hour road blocks on the routes we have identified and we suspend vehicles, make arrests and issue summonses for outstanding fines.

“What is still of grave concern to us is the high amount of fatalities as a result of road accidents. We are monitoring the figures and it is a significant concern for us that they remain high. We will continue with our campaign,” Ncalane said.

• jeff.wicks@witness.co.za

Over 40 000 cars had moved through the Mooi Plaza bound for the coast at the weekend.

N3TC spokesperson Con Roux said the rate of cars had peaked at 2 000 per hour.

“It has been a fairly safe weekend on the roads. However, there have been a few fender benders,” he said.

Just over 15 000 cars passed through the toll on Saturday alone.

— Additional reporting by

Rumana Akoob.

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