Traffic bosses rack up fines
Jeanne van der Merwe
Johannesburg - South Africa’s top traffic
bosses, including no-nonsense Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele, are threatening
a drastic crackdown on errant drivers.
their vehicles have run up a raft of traffic fines in the past three years.
records show that vehicles for which Ndebele and Collins Letsoalo, the Road
Traffic Management Corporation’s (RTMC) controversial acting head, were the
registered owners have been issued with 11 fines in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
the two pilot areas for the controversial licence point demerit system. Two of
the fines were cancelled.
of the traffic infringements were obtained by Media24 Investigations as Ndebele
and Letsoalo threatened to confiscate the driving licences of roadhogs and
speedsters against a backdrop of a holiday bloodpath on the country’s roads.
fines show a silver 5-series BMW registered in Ndebele’s name drove through a
camera trap at between 146 and 150 km/h on the N1 North in Johannesburg in July
speeding fine for the same vehicle, for driving between 96 and 100 km/h in a 60
km/h zone the day after, was cancelled.
spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso insisted the minister had sold the BMW in June
2010 and had never driven it outside KwaZulu-Natal.
said the fine was probably an error that lay with the dealership where Ndebele
bought the vehicle, but he could not provide City Press with the name of the
He could not
say who paid the fine when the car was still in Ndebele’s name.
whose job since February 2010 has tasked him with leading accident
investigation, traffic enforcement and implementation of the points demerit
system under the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act
(Aarto) – had nine fines issued against his vehicles between October 2008 and
March last year.
violations include five for speeding and four parking fines slapped on four
different vehicles registered to Letsoalo – two silver Mercedes Benz cars, a
white Isuzu KB bakkie and a silver 5-series BMW.
fine was cancelled. Among the fines was one for R1 000 for driving between 126
and 130 km/h in a 100 km/h zone and R750 for driving between 101 and 105 km/h
in an 80 km/h zone.
insisted he was not the driver of the vehicles. “I’ve got a driver who takes me
around and my wife drives all those vehicles.
drives those vehicles, my cousins and sometimes my father; I’ve got a lot of
people driving those cars. But what I do, like any ordinary law citizen, I pay
all the fines under my name. I’m not above the law.”
Dembovsky, chairperson of the Justice Project South Africa, which runs the
independent Aarto information website www.aartofacts.co.za, said the fact that
records showing both the speeding fine for Ndebele’s BMW and five of Letsoalo’s
fines as “paid” suggested the two men had paid the fines themselves and had
thus admitted guilt for the traffic violations.
said it was not impossible that the new owner of Ndebele’s car could have
incurred the fine pending the transfer of the vehicle into his name.
pointed out that prior to Letsoalo’s appointment as RTMC acting CEO, he had
been a deputy director general in the national department of transport.
“He is not
some civilian off the street. He should live by what he preaches and I hope he
is going to cancel his own licence in light of his indiscretions since he sees
fit to threaten everyone else.”
pointed out that 17 months after one of Letsoalo’s speeding offences was
committed, the fine was still unpaid and no warrant of execution had been
issued, as Aarto requires, suggesting that the system “is clearly not working