‘One traffic officer’ for City

2017-06-12 14:20
Not enough budget for 24-hour traffice patrols in Msunduzi.

Not enough budget for 24-hour traffice patrols in Msunduzi. (File)

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The frustrations city residents feel when they see the growing number of traffic infractions and the absence of officers patrolling the streets are set to grow.

An explosive report compiled by community services business unit general manager Boniwe Zulu revealed that the department was severely understaffed and the budget allocation was not enough to manage a city as large as Pietermaritzburg.

Despite the turmoil in the traffic department the city plans on cutting spending on Public Safety, which traffic officers fall under, from R248 075 000 to R81 557 000.

The report obtained by The Witness was presented to Msunduzi leadership strategic planning session held in the Drakensberg in April.

In the report, Zulu states the city does not have 24-hour traffic policing.

According to a source who works in the department, the city only deploys one traffic officer after 8 pm.

“That traffic officer is on reactional mode. If there are two accidents in different parts of Msunduzi, then there is a problem. The traffic officer cannot be in two different places at the same time.”

Other issues highlighted by the report include:

Inability to fill critical management posts;

High vacancy rate at operational level

Insufficient resources to cater for all zones;

Lack of 100% radio communication coverage;

Highly politicised labour force;

Absenteeism;

Old/obsolete tools of trade.

The report further slams Msunduzi’s human resources policies, which it says are ineffective in dealing with work attendance and employment screening.

Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha did not respond to queries at the time of going to print.

DA caucus leader Sibongiseni Majola said it was unacceptable that “such a busy town like Peitermaritzburg”, did not have 24-hour traffic policing.

“Understanding the high rate of accidents where people are losing their lives, how can the municipality expose people to such dangers by not having 24-hour traffic policing.

“This essentially means Msunduzi abondons the public at some point. People are losing their lives during these times,” he said.

Retired traffic officer Rashid Khan, who said he had worked in the field for 32 years, said it was sad that there was no traffic law enforcement visibility in the city.

“Even during peak hours, the traffic officers are sitting in their offices like they are admin officers.

“How are they going to bring down the number of accidents if there is no visibility?

“If we are serious about having an accident-free town, there should be more traffic officers on the road, especially at hotspots because people are running amok in town,” he said.

Khan said senior officers and even the superintendents should be doing visible traffic policing.

“They are law enforcement officers and they should be out there. Sadly, the only time you will see them on the road is when there are big events such as Comrades Marathon, because of the overtime pay. If they are saying they have been doing law enforcement, they should show us the offences that they have listed,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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