R5m traffic fines bonanza for City

The City’s traffic department has made almost R1.4 million from traffic fines in the Wynberg area in the past three months.

The City’s traffic department made R5 million from traffic fines during the first three months of this year in six wards, from Claremont to Lakeside.

This is already half of the almost R10 million these wards generated in fines for the whole of last year, according to City traffic service spokeswoman Maxine Bezuidenhout.

The statistics were presented at a Sub-council 20 meeting on Wednesday May 18.

Fines were issued for, among other things, driving with an expired licence, driving on a shoulder and overtaking on a barrier line, running stop signs and red lights and parking offences.

Wynberg generated the most fines, almost R1.4 million, according to Ward 62 councillor Emile Langenhoven.

Wynberg Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (WRRA) committee member Phillippa Duncan has been calling for speed bumps in Cogill Road for more than 20 years. The previous councillor said they were only considered close to schools.

Ms Duncan said pedestrians had to walk in busy Cogill Road because residents parked cars on the pavements instead of in the road to avoid losing their side mirrors to speeding cars. The road was also used as a rat run by taxis, parents driving their children to school and delivery trucks bound for shops in Wynberg Main Road.

High-density development was also adding to congestion in that part of Wynberg, she said.

Fines had been issued to vehicles having two-wheels on the pavement, she said.

WRRA chairwoman Karen Gird said Vriedenhof, Devonshire, Piers, Mortimer, Fleming and Benjamin roads; Oak and Wellington avenues; and Wellington Drive, among others, were also used as rat runs, and signs forbidding trucks on some roads were not always obeyed.

Wynberg Main Road was congested during peak and school hours but was relatively peaceful otherwise.

Wynberg Sector 1 Neighbourhood Watch chairwoman Marinda Watermeyer was not surprised that the most fines were issued in Wynberg as it was a main transport hub and the lack of space at the public transport interchange meant taxis often parked illegally.

Heide Goodman and Glendyr Dade, of Muizenberg Lakeside Residents’ Association, said there were accidents and deaths almost every day of the week on Baden Powell Drive. “Reckless driving at its worst,” said Ms Dade.

Carmen Siebritz, of Ward 63, said Wynberg taxis were parking illegally on the corner of Ottery Road and Byrnes Avenue. “The drivers are fined, but as soon as the traffic officials leave the area, the taxis are back,” she said.

According to Ms Bezuidenhout, speeding fines vary from R200 to R1 200 depending on the speed limit. If a driver is travelling at 79km/hour in a 60km/hour area, the fine will be R400. Should the driver be travelling at 80km/hour in a 60km/hour zone the fine will be R800.

You can be fined R500 for disregarding a directional arrow and R1500 for running a red light or failing to yield at a traffic circle. Using a cellphone while driving can cost R500 or the phone can be impounded with a release fee of R1 000. Failure to wear a safety belt is a R500 fine. If a minibus has 16 occupants the fine can multiply to R8 000.

There are also more than 100 vehicle fitness fines for everything from a defective hooter (R300) to defective brakes (R500).

Ms Bezuidenhout said taxis were fined if they were found to be off their routes, but the courts tended to scrap the case from the roll if the taxi was within 1km radius of the route despite the law not allowing for such leeway.

Residents experiencing rat runs in their area could apply to have no-taxi signs posted, she said.

There was also a lack of space in the vehicle pounds at Maitland, which has 423 bays, and Ndabeni, with 723, Ms Bezuidenhout noted, saying that 30 to 50 vehicles were impounded daily and most were minibus taxis. As of Tuesday May 17, only 55 bays were available at Maitland and 42 at Ndabeni.

A vehicle was impounded when a driver had no permit or was operating the vehicle contrary to conditions set out in the permit, she said. The fine for driving a vehicle without a licence or permit is R2 500.

To recover the vehicle the owner must approach the court on both the fine for the offence and the impoundment. The release for driving without a licence is R7 000 for a first offence, R10 000 for a second offence and R15 000 for a third offence.

Ms Bezuidenhout said that during the national state of disaster fines were issued for failing to wear masks on public transport vehicles.

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