Cape Town – worst traffic in SA: Here’s what the city is doing about it

<B> ALLEVIATING TRAFFIC:</B> CCID-deployed traffic warden Sonto Mbunga on the Adderley Street beat in Cape Town. <I>Image: Ed Suter</I>
<B> ALLEVIATING TRAFFIC:</B> CCID-deployed traffic warden Sonto Mbunga on the Adderley Street beat in Cape Town. <I>Image: Ed Suter</I>

Cape Town has the worst traffic in South Africa. Part of the city's plan is to roll out special video-equipped traffic wardens to alleviate the congestion...

Four months ago, the City of Cape Town and the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) introduced six traffic wardens funded and managed by the CCID into the CBD footprint, primarily to alleviate afternoon traffic congestion, but also to deal with non-moving traffic violations in the CBD.

Muneeb Hendricks, manager of CCID Safety & Security, says: "The pilot project ran until the end of June this year and was rated as so successful that we have now signed a contract with the City until June 2018, with an option to renew providing it continues to make an impact. 

'Non-moving traffic fines'

Earlier in 2017, Wheels24 reported that Cape Town is rated as South Africa's most congested city, ranking 33rd on the global list. Johannesburg is second, but 44th on the global list.

Commuters in the Mother City spend, on average, 49.1 hours in traffic, and in Jhb 46.8. Durban, Pretoria and Pietermaritzburg round out the top five. 

READ: Worst traffic in SA? Joburg no longer tops in congestion

9 most congested cities in SA: Average hours spent in congestion; 2016 world ranking

1 Cape Town (49.1 hours - global rank 33 )
2 Johannesburg (46.8hrs; 44)
3 Durban (30.2hrs; 158)
4 Pretoria (28.1hrs; 191)
5 Pietermaritzburg (19.8hrs; 384)
6 Port Elizabeth (19.1hrs; 401)
7 East London (17.7hrs; 437)
8 Bloemfontein (16.1hrs; 470)
9 Vanderbijlpark (4.9hrs; 1013)

Most congested cities in South Africa: Overall daily congestion level 

1 Cape Town 35%
2 Johannesburg 30%
3 East London 29%
4 Pretoria 26%
5 Durban 22%

Image by TomTom

Body cams

The wardens in Cape Town are also equipped with body-worn video units – the same ones that the CCID’s own public safety officers wear and that have already proved to be extremely successful in behaviour modification.

"Traffic offenders now really think twice about taking a chance in the first place when our wardens are around," says Hendricks.

Do you think clamping down on poor parking and bad road behaviour will alleviate traffic congestion? Do you think more wardens should be deployed? Email us

The six traffic wardens are primarily deployed to alleviate traffic congestion in the CBD during the peak hours of 3pm until 6.30pm, and can be seen at the intersections of Strand and Adderley streets as well as Strand and Buitengracht. Between 10am and 3pm, they move throughout the Central City dealing very effectively with non-moving traffic violations.

Watch 'morning traffic' in three major SA cities below: 

For the full table, click on the image below:

Infographic by

Elaborating on their deployment in the Central City, Hendricks adds: “The CCID has provided a space for the members at the CCID control centre in the CBD. They get briefed daily by our own CCID security team on areas of concern and we capture their daily stats to compile monthly reports. In addition to the body-worn video units, we issue them with CCID radios and provide backup whenever required. We are able to dispatch them immediately to traffic complaints received via our call centre, and they also assist when special operations are being held targeting repeat offenders or sedan taxis.”

According to Hendricks, the biggest success achieved to date has been the free flow of peak hour traffic along the entire Strand Street midtown corridor in the afternoons, also resulting in the large number of complaints the CCID has received in the past dropping significantly. 

“We have also seen a major freeing up of Adderley Street as sedan taxis are no longer causing huge blockages along this road,” notes Hendricks. “There are now also repercussions for both bad parking behaviour and the blatant disregard for traffic law in the CBD.”

The presence of the six traffic wardens has also had another impact on the Central City, says Hendricks: "Besides issuing traffic fines, these members are also peace officers. They have therefore been involved in significant arrests for other crimes while on the beat, and have been involved in a number of incidents where crimes have been prevented. They are a dedicated team willing to make a difference in the improvement of the Central City, and we’re extremely proud to be associated with them."

Hendricks says: "We’d like to thank Alderman JP Smith, the City’s MayCo member for Social Services and Safety, who was instrumental in setting up this innovative new system enabling a city improvement district to fund traffic wardens from City Traffic Services. We’re keeping him fully posted on the project’s progress which, in the first month of the official contract, has resulted in over R1.3 million in non-moving traffic fines being effectively issued."

According to CCID CEO Tasso Evangelinos, the traffic warden project was initiated due to alleviate the severe congestion the CBD had begun to experience: "Traffic in the Central City had become a very real issue, with gridlock blockages at many intersections come home time and drivers turning a blind eye to the fact that driving into an already jammed intersection, thereby preventing a cross flow, is actually a bylaw offence. 

"It’s the job of the wardens to monitor and deter this. We believe the initiative, which complements V&A Waterfront-funded officers who are deployed at the Buitengracht and Walter Sisulu Avenue intersection, are going a long way to alleviating congestion and modifying driver behaviour."

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