Councillor Langenhoven is disingenuous

Councillor Langenhoven is disingenuous

Thomas Johnson, Belthorn Estate

I’m moved to respond to Ward 62 councillor Emile Langenhoven who wrote of his distress following the death of an elderly woman on Wynberg Main Road (“I am only one“, Constantiaberg Bulletin, October 13) by an alleged drunk taxi driver. He ends saying he cannot do everything himself and appeals to the Wynberg community for help.

I’m puzzled he does not include the City, specifically Metro police, which has jurisdiction over traffic and transport. Perhaps it’s because they’re virtually invisible on the roads, as in invisible policing, a new kind of law enforcement.

Last year on Main Road outside Maynard Mall, a taxi rear-ended me as I waited at a traffic light. I saw the vehicle looming in my mirror and took evasive action. My car was still knocked though. I got out the car and the driver and presumably his conductor, a huge man, got out theirs. I inspected the damage and asked what the (expletive) he thought he was doing. He was amused, fiddling with his phone. He claimed his brakes failed. He lied, though. Likely he was texting.

A Metro police car happened to be driving pass and the female officer screamed at me to “get out the way, you’re blocking the road”. She offered no assistance and drove on. I moved my car and another officer appeared. I complained that by the driver’s own admission, the taxi was unroadworthy. But the officer was like the Sphinx – he said and did nothing. He had the audacity to ask if he could “help” me further.

I took the taxi driver’s details – he had no insurance of course but said I could claim from mine (who would pay the excess, though). I went on my way but later by email complained about the officers’ dereliction of duty to the mayco for safety and security who passed it on to the traffic chief.

Both were uninterested. The mayco’s PA was passive-aggressive and the traffic chief said I must report it to SAPS. With what evidence? Metro police let it drive off without checking the driver’s permits and licence or the roadworthiness of the taxi.

I once witnessed six metro officers in three cars take down and handcuff a rowdy street person. But they’re afraid, reluctant or just disinclined to police our roads. One seldom sees them. But the DA-run City and province wants an independent police force. And run it as indifferently as they do Metro police? I don’t think so.

I sympathise with victims of accidents and crime – the death of the woman was culpable homicide if alcohol, recklessness or negligence was involved. But Langenhoven is disingenuous for explicitly leaving out the City, of which he’s an employee, in his lobbying for a “safer, cleaner and more liveable Wynberg”. They, with SAPS, have the power and authority we lack which is why we vote for people like Langenhoven.