Sheriffs up in arms over summons deliveries

2015-05-28 13:17

NELSON Mandela Bay sheriffs say they have been dealt a heavy blow by the municipality, which is said to have appointed a Western Cape company to serve traffic summonses despite the local sheriffs being promised that they would be employed to do so.

The sheriffs found out about the contracting of the Western Cape company, TMT, in a report in PE Express two weeks ago on the plight of 27 summons deliverers, who work on commission and had not been receiving an income because of the two-year suspension in the delivery of traffic summonses.

In this report, municipal spokesperson, Mthubanzi Mniki, said TMT would be appointed to deal with the delivery of summonses.

Sheriff Llewellyn Sharp, who spoke to PE Express as a representative of five sheriffs in the Uitenhage South, PE North, PE West, Despatch and PE South areas, said they had been surprised to learn from PE Express that the municipality had appointed 33 servers on a six-month contract effective from June.

According to Sharp, they had countless meetings with the municipality’s chief financial officer, Trevor Harper, and safety and security boss, Shane Brown, who promised they would begin serving the backlog of summonses as well as warrants as early as December 14 before the holidays began.

Sharp said they had developed an extensive proposal for the municipality which included plans to generate millions in revenue for the metro through the collection of summonses, serve warrants to traffic offenders, incorporate the 27 summons deliverers already employed by the metro as deputy sheriffs and run a call centre to communicate with offenders.

“All these plans would have far-reaching benefits for the municipality. Our goal is to assist the municipality in collecting millions in uncollected fines. We believe if we can get involved, the metro will see the difference,” said Sharp.

According to the sheriff’s proposals, the money collected would be put into a trust account and transferred to the municipal accounts.

DA chief whip Gustav Rautenbach said the suspension of traffic summons deliveries for two years had resulted in losses of millions of rands for the municipality. 

Rautenbach said that in the past summonses had been responsible for bringing in a minimum of R600 000 in a bad month, with the average being R1.2-million a month in traffic fines.

Sharp said they had been promised by Harper and Brown last year that they would make provision for the sheriff’s proposal in the next financial year’s budget and they would finance them until then.

“We are upset that this promise has not materialised. Because of this, the 27 summons deliverers who are now sitting without work are also losing out.”

Municipal spokesperson, Mthubanzi Mniki, told PE Express in the previous report that the municipality had appointed 33 servers on a six-month contract effective from June. “At the time of the contract’s expiry, they will be incorporated where possible into the service provider, TMT,” said Mniki.

Sheriff Anthony Makwethu said the municipality was acting like a broken record. “They initiated the interaction and the discussions were at an advanced stage last year. They know we have the capabilities. We are tried and tested and we can work with servers.”

Rautenbach said the traffic department was dealing with huge inefficiencies. “One should seriously consider putting this department under administration. We need this department to get back on a good level because it’s going from bad to worse.”

He said he fully supported the sheriffs taking over summons deliveries if they employed the 27 servers that the municipality had left in the cold for the past two years.

“Through this project, sheriffs will generate enough income for the municipality to pay traffic officers and ensure a strong visibility on our roads because they will be paid overtime and back pay. What more can we ask for?” asked Sharp.

No comment had been received from the municipality at time of going to print.

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