MEC Must CLarify Status of Speed Cameras

Anthony Benadie MPL

DA Leader in Mpumalanga

The MEC for community safety, security and liaison, Mr Vusi Shongwe, must clarify whether or not the Mpumalanga Traffic Department has been authorised to conduct speed camera prosecution.

In addition, MEC Shongwe must come clean on the R91,8 million in revenue generated from unmanned cameras, operated by Traffic Management Technologies (TMT).

In September last year the DA obtained a letter from the NPA, written to the department’s general manager of traffic management that the province was not authorised to use unmanned speed cameras for speed prosecution. The letter stated that cameras should at all times be manned by traffic officials in possession of the necessary competencies and that the province’s practice was in contravention of the authority given to them.

Significantly, the NPA indicated that the department that it could lose its authorisation to perform speed law enforcement by camera, if it did not comply with the NPA directive by December 31, 2011.

MEC Shongwe has since then tried his best to discredit the DA and the NPA directive, without giving any indication as to whether the department has indeed complied with the NPA directive. Furthermore, during the questions for oral reply session in the Legislature on November 8 last year, MEC Shongwe EC Shongwe failed to fully reply on payments made to TMT.

However, after being ordered to do so by the Speaker, Mr William Lubisi, a written reply reached the DA on November 16, claiming that the department did not have the exact figures pertaining to revenue generated (although telling Legislature that it collected R91,8 million), as adjustment appropriation is in the process of being finalised, and would only be concluded by the end of November. The department also requested a stay of two months before it could “present accurate figures relating to the revenue collected and paid to the service provider”.

The DA has now written formal parliamentary questions to MEC Shongwe asking him to clarify whether the department has in fact complied with the NPA directives, and if the NPA has granted authorisation for it to continue with speed prosecution by camera. Furthermore, the DA requested MEC Shongwe to clarify why the department did not comply with TCSP guidelines.

In terms of fines issued by TMT and the department, the DA has asked MEC Shongwe to clarify the status of traffic fines issued under circumstances in contravention with TCSP guidelines, as well as to clarify how many fines have been issued, the monetary value thereof, and how much of it had been paid over to TMT – especially now that the adjustment appropriation process should have long been complete.

The DA has reliably learnt that the department is no longer making use of TMT, which is a victory for motorists, however, if the province has lost its NPA authority to conduct any speed camera prosecution, the impact on law enforcement is severe and renders all forms of speed camera prosecution illegal.

The MEC must stop side-stepping this matter and provide immediate clarity on it.

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