Recent reports saying that SALGA has blamed the AARTO Act for the so-called “losses in traffic fine income” experienced by the JMPD, TMPD and EMPD have again highlighted the corrupt nature of traffic enforcement in South Africa.
Justice Project South Africa wishes to voice its disgust over the attitude that has been adopted by the Municipalities of South Africa, represented by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA); who have clearly come to believe that traffic law enforcement is about making money – not ensuring road safety.
The so-called “loss/shortfall” of R208 million of the R460 million budgeted as an income from traffic fines by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department in the 2011/2012 financial year is cited as a “reason” for the AARTO Act to be scrapped. What this flawed argument fails to acknowledge is that:
It is not clear just what the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department’s alleged loss of R50 million has to do with AARTO, given that to date; only the JMPD and TMPD are and have been involved in the so-called “pilot” of AARTO whilst Ekurhuleni has not been included.
With respect to the obvious admission by SALGA that traffic “enforcement” is viewed as a financial entitlement to fund Municipalities, JPSA would like to thank the collective Municipalities who are members of SALGA for confirming what we have been saying for years. It is quite clear from the examples cited that traffic enforcement is viewed by Municipalities as nothing more than a source of taxation to generate large amounts of revenue for them, whether such generation is lawful or not and whether it improves road safety or not.
Logically, should traffic law enforcement be successful in achieving greater compliance with traffic laws, this would greatly damage the bottom line of the Municipalities who have come to believe that motorists’ bad behaviour on our roads is nothing more than an excuse for them to make money by giving people permission to break the law, so long as they pay the Municipalities money to do so.
It is clear that the AARTO Act is most certainly in direct conflict with the agendas of Municipalities, given that a points-demerit system would almost certainly diminish the pool of “taxable” motorists, and given that the suspension of their driving licenses is intended to remove delinquent motorists from our roads. The fact that road fatalities cost the fiscus somewhere in the order of R40 billion and the economy over R200 billion per annum seems to be of no concern to SALGA and the Municipalities that belong to it and it is very sad indeed to see that they are prepared to demand the scrapping of legislation that could address some of the carnage on our roads so as to continue to line their collective pockets.