New handheld technology to bolster traffic enforcement over the festive season

By Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works:

Brand new hand-held devices have now been deployed by the Department of Transport and Public Works to assist Provincial Traffic Officers over this festive season. These hand-held devices (pictures attached) will be used by traffic officers in the field, as a fast, information-verifying tool that will assist enforcement.

These devices have been entirely developed and tested over the past two years by the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works, and will be in operation across the Western Cape; a first of its kind in South Africa.

The devices allow traffic officers real-time access to the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera system, which is linked to the eNaTIS database where all vehicle and driver information is stored.

How it works

  • The cameras ‘read’ the number plate of a passing vehicle, immediately relaying details of that vehicle’s make, class, registration status (outstanding licence fees), roadworthy status, offences, warrants, and ownership to a central back office.
  • This information can then immediately be relayed back to traffic officers in the field, positioned close to the ANPR, allowing them to stop a vehicle that has been flagged by the device for having offences attached to it.
  • The device also allows traffic officers to scan and read vehicle licence discs and drivers licences to verify their authenticity, as well as to pull information relating to past offences and possible warrants of arrest.

This is all made possible by a 3G link within the hand held device, that allows it to plug into the information system.

Provincial traffic officers have also undergone training to allow them to make effective use of this device, which has a user-friendly interface, and which has undergone extensive testing before being rolled out.

This system will also serve as an information gathering tool for our traffic management component, assisting us to plan resource deployment better in areas where it is needed most.

We are constantly reviewing our strategies when it comes to traffic law enforcement and best road safety practice. We will continue to employ innovation and technology in making our roads safer for the many that use them. We call on all road users to work with us over the festive season in improving safety on our roads, and ultimately saving lives. This period is supposed to be a joyous time spent with family and friends. Do not let reckless and irresponsible behaviour cast a deadly cloud over festivities.

Minister Grant, Chief Africa, and a traffic officer with the new hand-held device

Minister Grant, Chief Africa, and a traffic officer with the new hand-held device

Traffic officer scanning the vehicle registration disc with the new hand held device

Traffic officer scanning the vehicle registration disc with the new hand held device

Passenger deaths spike at the start of festive season

By Donald Grant, Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works:

The first 14 days (December 1st to December 14th 2015) of the festive season have seen a slight increase in the number of fatalities on Western Cape roads compared to the figures for the same time last year. Comparative road deaths are up 12% from 51 in 2014, to 58 deaths so far this December. Even more concerning is the spike in passenger deaths in the same period (from 6 deaths in 2014, to 18 deaths this December thus far).  Saturday, the 12th of December 2015, saw the highest number of deaths on a single day since the beginning of December: 11 deaths including 8 passengers and 3 pedestrians.  Some fatal crashes have been reported in areas like the N1 near Beaufort West, where high traffic volumes are synonymous with this time of year.

While passenger deaths have risen sharply in the first 14 days of the festive season, pedestrian deaths have  gone down by 29% from 35 deaths in 2014 compared to 25 deaths this year during the same period. Pedestrian deaths are still far too high, with road death statistics  showing that not only are pedestrian deaths continually the leading class of fatality, but also that poorer communities are disproportionately represented in pedestrian death statistics, with black males, aged 20 – 34, being the highest risk demographic.

With traffic volumes set to increase as the festive season continues, I urge all motorists to be extra mindful of pedestrians on our roads, particularly at night when many pedestrians are likely to have consumed alcohol.

Pedestrians must also ensure that they are highly visible to motorists at all times; that they steer clear of pedestrian no-go areas, namely highways, where it is not only dangerous for pedestrians to walk, but also illegal; and that they do not take to the roads after consuming alcohol.  Alcohol consumption and road use remain a deadly combination for all road users, particularly pedestrians.

Freeway hotspots for pedestrian incidents:

  • N1 from Brackenfell to Joostenberg Vlakte,
  • N2 from Cape Town International Airport to Spine Rd,
  • N7 adjacent to Du Noon,
  • Vanguard Drive from Masemola Rd to the R300,
  • R300 from Vanguard Drive to the N2.


Safely Home has launched a multimedia campaign focussed on the dangers associated with alcohol and road use, titled “Alcohol and the Road Don’t Mix”. The campaign is  live on the Safely Home website,, twitter: @WCGovSafelyHome hashtag #BoozeFreeRoads, and is supported by radio advertisements on various leading radio stations, and VMS message board messages on busy highways. #BoozeFreeRoads was specifically targeted at both motorists and pedestrians, with drinking and driving, as well as drinking and walking, both proving to be a deadly combination on our roads.

The focus areas for our law enforcement activities remain drink driving, speed, and most importantly at this time, fatigue management. The horrific crashes we see on our roads, particularly on long stretches like the N1 and the N2, can undoubtedly be attributed to one (if not all) of these contributing factors. I encourage all road users to be mindful of the dangers that exist on our roads, and be informed of all these factors as they take to the roads during this busy time.

Reconciliation must remain our priority, in honour of Molly Blackburn

By Athol Trollip, DA Mayoral Candidate: Nelson Mandela Bay:

This extract is from a speech delivered by DA NMB Mayoral Candidate, Athol Trollip, at the Lillian Ngoyi Hall, Kwazakhele, in memory of Molly Blackburn on the Day of Reconciliation.

On this Day of Reconciliation, we are gathered here to remember the heroes of our fight against apartheid and to reaffirm the DA’s commitment to social cohesion.

Molly Blackburn spent her life fighting the cruel system of apartheid and as a representative of the DA’s founding movement, the Progressive Federal Party, we thank Mama Blackburn for her tireless struggle.

South Africa can never become a truly reconciled nation without a deliberate focus on social cohesion, where all of us observe our painful past while embracing a new vision for the future. This also requires that each one of us must be seen to be building bridges and reaching out to our brothers and sisters.

We need unwavering commitment to redress from every South African; a deliberate and conscious effort to work together to right the wrongs of our past. We have to do this together, without exception, otherwise we will struggle to shake off the shackles of our dark history.

This is a commitment that is not easily realised while individuals and political organisations seek to divide us. It is easy to sow division. It is much harder to unite. I choose unity, because it is only through unity that we can realise our full potential as a reconciled nation.

Jacob Zuma and the ANC have become an insult to social cohesion and democracy. Under Zuma, the ANC has taken this country backwards with more corruption, more scandals and less service delivery than ever before.

While the President turns his back on the economy through reckless and misguided cabinet reshuffles, millions of South Africans remain out of work.

Here at home in Nelson Mandela Bay, we have come last for far too long. The ANC continues to put itself first, before the people, by protecting corrupt officials and breaking service delivery promises.

President Zuma’s assertion that the ANC comes before South Africa is playing out perfectly to plan in this Metro and the most vulnerable residents continue to suffer as a result.

When I sit back and observe our political landscape, it becomes more and more clear to me that the party I represent is the only party truly interested in respecting the legacy left behind by Nelson Mandela.

Like Mandela’s, Molly Blackburn’s commitment to reconciliation guides me in the face of these ongoing divisive tactics. I will remain committed to true freedom, fairness and opportunity for all, just as Molly Blackburn was.

I will honour the legacy of a great woman by working to encourage reconciliation, improve service delivery, fight corruption and create jobs

Having your vehicle checked ahead of holiday could save your life

By Donald Grant, Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works:

Today I had my official vehicle checked at a local testing station for compliance with vehicle safety standards. This check formed part of a series of vehicle inspections done in partnership with the Retail Motor Industry (RMI) Organization. The RMI run campaigns every year around vehicle safety, encouraging motorists to have their vehicles tested regularly to ensure safety and compliance.

My official vehicle passed the safety check, with no defects needing rectification. I urge all motorists to subject their vehicles to these safety checks, particularly ahead of this festive season where many people will be taking to the roads as they head to their various holiday destinations.

The Safety Test, conducted at a testing station, included the checking of the following items:

  • All lights including indicators
  • Seat belts
  • Wipers
  • Front Tyres
  • Rear Tyres
  • Foot-brake front
  • Foot-brake rear
  • Hand-brake
  • Steering mechanism (steering control arm, steering box and tie rod ends)
  • Front and rear suspension
  • Exhaust
  • Wheel alignment

Motorists must also ensure that their vehicles have valid roadworthy certificates as required by the law. Ensuring that your vehicle is safe decreases the likelihood of your vehicle being involved in a crash.

Last week Friday, 11 December 2015, we also launched our Western Cape Festive Season Operational Plan 2015/2016, to complement the Safely Home #BoozeFreeRoads campaign that will run over the next two months. Vehicle fitness forms an important part of the enforcement plan, with 220 Vehicle Check Point (VCP) operations to be conducted across the province to check that vehicles are safe and have the necessary documentation.

Our vehicle fitness efforts are also extended to public transport, with the City of Cape Town’s Traffic Officials currently conducting free vehicle inspections on public transport vehicles at Joe Gqabi and other public transport interchanges. The inspections are part of our “Public Transport Sticker Project”, which is a joint initiative of the Department of Transport and Public Works and the City of Cape Town’s Traffic Services. The initiative is aimed at ensuring that public transport vehicles are fit to transport passengers over this busy festive season.

The project is implemented over the Easter and Festive Season “Exodus” periods, where many holiday-makers will be making use of public transport to travel to their destinations across the province, and beyond. Vehicles are tested for fitness and roadworthiness, and if they are in good working order, are issued with a sticker that verifies that the vehicle has been inspected.

I should like to thank all road users, motorists, and stakeholders who continue to work with us, in partnership, to make our roads safer and to save lives. I especially should like to thank RMI for conducting the check on my vehicle this morning, and for providing free vehicle checks to other motorists as part of their campaign. We remain committed to doing all that we can to improve safety and compliance on our roads, particularly over the holiday periods.

You can follow the festive season campaign on the Safely Home website,, and twitter: @WCGovSafelyHome under the hashtag #BoozeFreeRoads

Photographs attached courtesy of Safely Home

Minister Grant with Joy Oldale from RMI and a testing officer from the facility

Minister Grant with Joy Oldale from RMI and a testing officer from the facility

Minister Grant and Testing Officer 2

Minister Grant and Testing Officer 2

Minister Grant and a testing officer checking his vehicle

Minister Grant and a testing officer checking his vehicle

Murders in Ocean View: SAPS’ swift arrests welcomed

By Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety:

I welcome the swift action from the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Ocean View area, which has seen arrests made in connection with seven murders that have taken place since 5 December 2015.

The most recent arrests happened yesterday morning in connection with a triple murder which occurred on Saturday, 12 December 2015.

I wish to congratulate the SAPS for their dedication to seeing justice served. Detectives have worked hard to find those allegedly responsible for the heinous crimes committed over the last two weeks. These arrests will go some way to providing the families and friends of the victims with some comfort that the crimes will not go unpunished.

With most of the suspects connected to the various crimes expected to appear in court this Thursday, I trust that the rest of the criminal justice system will ensure that those responsible for the murders undergo swift trials, just convictions and sentencing befitting of the heinous crimes they committed.

I call on the community of Ocean View and the rest of our communities across the province, to support the SAPS in their investigations. Safety is everyone’s responsibility and the sooner criminals can be arrested with credible information and testimonies connecting the suspects to the crimes, the safer our communities will become.

Minister Grant to get his vehicle tested and urges holiday makers to do the same

Media Advisory:

Tomorrow, Tuesday 15 December 2015, Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works, Donald Grant, will have his official vehicle tested at a local testing station to ensure compliance with vehicle safety standards as is required by law. Such checks are increasingly more important during the festive season, as many take to the roads on long journeys to their various holiday destinations.

Minister Grant will have his vehicle checked, while encouraging all other road users to do the same. These vehicle checks are done in partnership with the Retail Motor Industry (RMI) Organization, who run campaigns every year around vehicle safety and encouraging motorists to have their vehicles tested regularly to ensure safety and compliance.

Vehicle fitness forms part of our festive season enforcement efforts, with various operations to be conducted across the province to check the roadworthiness of vehicles, and to discontinue vehicles that are deemed unsafe to be on our roads. Too often unsafe vehicles, coupled with unsafe drivers, have resulted in deadly collisions on our roads which could have been avoided had the vehicles been checked before embarking on various trips.

Media are invited and welcome to attend. There will be opportunity for photographs and interviews. Please indicate via email if you will be in attendance.

Venue:                       AVTS Culemborg Motor City, Christiaan Barnard Boulevard (formerly Oswald Pirow Street), Foreshore, Cape Town

Date:                          Tuesday, 15th of December 2015

Time:                           11h00 – 12h00

Minister Schäfer congratulates Western Cape Teacher, Warren Sparrow, listed as one of the world’s top 50 teachers

By Debbie Schafer, Western Cape Minister of Education:

A Cape Town teacher, Warren Sparrow, Head of Information and Communication Technology of Rondebosch Boys’ Preparatory School is one of 50 finalists in the running for a Global Teacher of the Year Award 2016.

Mr Sparrow, who specialises in eLearning support, won a Western Cape Teaching Award in 2012 for Excellence in Information and Communication Technology Enhanced Teaching (see profile & photo attached).

He has also been the recipient of a number of ICT Awards, i.e. Microsoft Innovative Teacher for both South Africa and Africa, finalist for the Microsoft Innovative Teacher worldwide, and winner of the 21st Century Classroom Project of the Year for the most innovative use of technology for enhancing learning in schools.

The Global Teacher Awards is in its second year and has been dubbed the ‘Nobel Prize’ for teaching. The $1 million teacher’s award is the largest prize of its kind.

With over 8000 applicants from 148 countries around the world, being shortlisted in the top 50 finalists is a remarkable achievement.

With two South African finalists, Warren Sparrow and Colleen Henning from St John’s College in Johannesburg, these exceptional teachers are certainly flying the flag for South African teachers.

The Global Teacher Awards website, says that ‘the Prize was set up to recognize one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society. By unearthing thousands of stories of heroes that have transformed young people’s lives, the prize hopes to bring to life the exceptional work of millions of teachers all over the world.’

Please visit the following link for background information on the awards.

This is an extraordinary achievement. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate both teachers and especially, the Western Cape’s very own, Mr Sparrow.

The winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai in March 2016.

To see Mr Sparrow in action, see:

Warren Sparrow – Profile 2012

Warren Sparrow Summary

70% of Johannesburg prostitutes are HIV positive

By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health:

The finding that 70% of Johannesburg sex workers are HIV positive is immensely disturbing.

Johannesburg sex workers have a higher infection rate than Durban’s 53% and Cape Town’s almost 40%.

This is according to a study by the US Centres for Disease Control in partnership with University of California, the Anova Health Institute and the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute.

While we are having good success in treatment for HIV/AIDS, we are failing dismally with prevention.

Part of the reason is because high risk groups such as sex workers are not taking sufficient preventative measures.

The Gauteng Health department should urgently look into providing the HIV prevention drug, Truvada, to sex workers and other high risk groups.

More education is also needed on consistent use of condoms by both, males and females.

DA shocked and saddened by untimely death of IFP’s Dr Lionel Mtshali

By Sizwe Mchunu, MPL, Leader of the DA in the KZN Legislature:

The DA is shocked and saddened by the untimely death of KZN IFP Leader and former KZN Premier, Dr Lionel Mtshali.

We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Dr Mtshali at this sad time.

We also send our condolences to the Inkatha Freedom Party community.

Dr Mtshali was a senior, well –respected member of the KZN Legislature for many years.  He also had a wealth of institutional knowledge in the context of government in this province.

He was an extremely eloquent man and it was always interesting listening to him speak in the House.  His sharp wit and engaging manner will be truly missed.

Dr Mtshali was more than just a politician.  He also had a deep understanding and knowledge of the history of KZN and the culture of the Zulu people.

The DA will certainly miss him, as will the entire political community of KZN.

Limpopo servants soliciting bribes: blame Premier Mathabatha

By Jacques Smalle MPL, DA Limpopo Provincial Leader:

The DA is deeply disappointed in the Limpopo Premier, Stan Mathabatha for failing to implement legislation to prevent government officials doing business with the state and to avoid corruption and bribes.

According to the South African Citizen’s Bribery Survey report conducted by the Ethics Institutes of SA released earlier this week, it was revealed that Limpopo comes out tops in terms of officials demanding bribes at  a staggering 48 %. Avoidance of traffic fines , applications for jobs, tenders and driver’s licenses as well as illicit discounts from business or stealing from states are cited as reasons for bribes.

The DA is not surprised by the report as we have been calling upon Premier Mathabatha to crack the whip on officials and blacklist all  companies in which government officials/family members have an interest, to prevent these companies from doing business with the state but our calls were dismissed.

Under the Jacob Zuma’s regime, officials did business with the state and entities in excess of R1 billion as this regime puts the ANC first and the citizens second.

The report proves that  Premier Mathabatha failed to initiate plans to fight against corruption and bribes by holding officials accountable for their corrupt deeds.

The DA is the only political party that governs which implements fair and transparent tender processes, where all entrepreneurs can bid fairly to receive business opportunities from government.

Where the DA governs, public officials are held to a strict code of conduct and timeously submit their financial and assets disclosure reports.

It is high time that Premier Mathabatha not only vigorously implements  the Public Administration Management Act of 2014 but also actively encourage members of the public and honest officials to come forward and expose corrupt officials.