The City of Joburg will within three weeks issue a new tender for speed law enforcement by camera.
This comes seven months after the city’s DA administration ended non-compliant contracts with five service providers, in an apparent effort to clean up contracts it inherited from the previous ANC-led administration.
Moneyweb on Thursday reported that the move virtually halted speed law enforcement by camera as the service providers, including TMT Services, Syntell and MVS Phumelelo, provided a turnkey solution that included all aspects of camera enforcement apart from the provision of the traffic officer.
The service included the provision of calibrated cameras, the vehicles used to place such cameras every morning, uploading the data, providing computers, generating fines, delivering fines to the South African Post Office for service on the vehicle owners, as well as paying the postage.
The city used to issue around 500 000 fines and collected between R30 million and R35 million per month, mainly through camera fines for speeding, but these numbers are said to have dropped dramatically after the cancellation of the contracts.
Cornelia van Niekerk, owner of Fines4U which administers traffic fines on behalf of 500 companies and 8 000 individual clients, has confirmed to Moneyweb that she has not received anything for months and no such fines are loaded onto the National Contravention Register she has access to.
On Thursday, Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) spokesperson Wayne Minnaar was quoted on the current situation on BDLive as saying: “It means where officers identify a speeding hotspot‚ officers man the cameras manually and issue the fines directly to offending motorists. The city has decided to do away with electronic enforcement.”
He added that there had been an improvement in curbing speeding in the city because of police visibility and the decision not to renew the contracts had not affected the JMPD’s ability to perform its [traffic] tasks nor general law enforcement.
On Friday morning, Joburg member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for public safety Michael Sun issued a statement saying his department “is in the process of advertising the speed law enforcement tender which will be issued within the coming three weeks”.
Sun however confirmed that the contracts for speed cameras ended as early as January.
He said “with the assistance of the City of Ekurhuleni’s speed contract, speed law infringement fines have been directly issued to transgressors”, but did not expand on the scope of that contract as it applies to Joburg.
Moneyweb earlier reported that the city used a provision in the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) to “piggyback” on neighbouring Ekurhuleni’s speed camera contract with Syntell, but that the contract was more focused on providing the “back office” system that generates speed fines.
Sun in his statement added that traffic law enforcement “is not about revenue generating, but rather about encouraging residents to abide to road regulations which are aimed at reducing road carnage”.
He further stated that the Johannesburg Metro Police (JMPD) received an annual budget from the City of Johannesburg, which was allocated decisively towards servicing the needs of the public.
In the meantime, chairman of Justice Project SA Howard Dembovsky questioned the notion that speed law enforcement by camera contributes to road safety. Dembovsky said while it may be true that physical law enforcement is not capable of generating as many fines as automated entrapment is, physical enforcement is nonetheless far more effective.
He said: “Where delinquent motorists are stopped at the time of the alleged infringement and taken to task immediately this has the bonus effect of preventing the possible consequences that could arise out of non-compliance with speed limits.”
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