PMB traffic clampdown

2010-12-21 00:00

SOME Pietermaritzburg drivers could well find themselves in jail over the festive season as the Msunduzi Municipality goes on an intensive drive to clamp down on non-compliant drivers.

Roadblocks will be conducted throughout the city during the festive season, with the Msunduzi traffic department already out in full force to implement the clamp down.

According to Kwenza Khumalo — acting manager in charge of traffic — 29 warrants of arrest were executed, 22 drivers were arrested for non-payment of fines and seven cars were towed away for illegal parking yesterday.

Speed traps on Washington and Chatterton roads resulted in 16 and 10 vehicles being caught for speeding respectively, said Khumalo.

When The Witness arrived at Langalibalele Street before noon yesterday, a number of traffic officials were seen stopping cars and taxis.

While some drivers were promptly on their way again after being assessed, others were not so lucky.

Curious onlookers chatted among themselves and pointed as drivers were forced to abandon their cars as they were driven away to the magistrate’s court to pay outstanding fines.

In some cases, passenger-laden taxis had to be moved by traffic officials.

Those who were able to pay their fines were let go, but those who could not were taken to Loop Street police station.

Even deputy mayor Jabu Ngubo switched roles for short while.

Donning a traffic official’s vest, she signalled for Sheldon Woodroffe, who happened to be passing by at the time, to pull over before asking him to blow into a breathalyser while another traffic official took his licence and checked whether there were any offences under his name.

Fortunately for Woodroffe, his breathalyser reading was in the clear and he had no outstanding traffic violations so he was given permission to continue on his journey.

Shortly after Woodroffe left, Ngubo said: “We are in the midst of the festive season [and with that] comes a lot of traffic and accidents.

“We want to make sure that all cars are roadworthy and keep an eye on drunken driving.”

In a statement released late yesterday afternoon, Superintendent Lalloo Parbhoo said the exercise was one of the planned roadblocks that drivers should expect during the festive season.

“It’s an ongoing plan. It’s something that’s been practised before and we’ll continue having these roadblocks randomly,” he said.

Parbhoo said the main purpose of these roadblocks is to home in on errant drivers, defective vehicles, reckless and negligent driving, warrants of arrest and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Khumalo said the number plate recognition system that was launched in October “has produced wonders”.

Khumalo said the system has netted them over R1 million “in hard cash and if we had enough traffic officials this [system] has the potential of bringing in close to R3,5 million a month”.


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