New officers should help ease traffic congestion in city centre

2013-07-24 00:00

TRAFFIC congestion in the city centre, long the bane of Pietermaritzburg motorists, should become a thing of the past following the employment of new traffic wardens and officers to patrol the CBD.

Yesterday, 10 wardens and officers paraded outside the city hall, when four new vehicles, costing R600 000, were also unveiled by city officials.

Msunduzi municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said the employment of the officers, whose duties would include traffic control in the CBD, was part of the Pietermaritzburg Urban Renewal Programme.

Nkosi said they were currently conducting interviews to employ 30 more traffic wardens by the end of August.

Mayor Chris Ndlela told the new recruits to comply with the law and ensure the enforcement of bylaws for revenue collection.

“We resolved at full council to give another amnesty to those with oustanding traffic fines and we are hoping that you will be able to collect fines, so that we are able to purchase other vehicles,” he told the recruits, adding that their employment was in line with ensuring the CBD became the safest place in the city.

The mayor acknowledged that the four vehicles were not enough, but told the new officers that the cars would make a difference.

“You must not fight over who will be driving these vehicles, but ensure that you take care of them as though they were your own property,” said Ndlela.

Perhaps in reference to a recent incident in Newcastle involving a traffic officer and the local mayor, Nkosi cautioned the officers: “I know that you belong to your communities, but once you don my uniforms you must respect it and, as long as you are in that uniform, stay out of politics,” he said.

Meanwhile, NFP councillor Thokozani Magwaza said while he was happy that the city had beefed up its traffic department, he was concerned about the employment of ANC executive committee member Jabu Ngubo’s daughter as one of the new recruits.

“This is clear nepotism, because she sits in the exco. What are our ratepayers expected to draw from this?” asked Magwaza.

He said it was not good for the ruling party to use its positions in council to influence decisions that would not help the poor, but their own relatives.

Ngubo responded saying: “I don’t decide who gets employed at the municipality, because as councillors we don’t interfere with the administration processes.”

She said their duties included creating policies and playing an oversight role, and whoever accused her of nepotism clearly did not understand the role of councillors.

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