Twenty-seven Cape Town drivers were arrested as traffic officials began their latest “blitz” against up to 100 000 drivers with warrants of arrest against them.
The new blitz was launched on Monday, with morning and afternoon roadblocks followed by visits to drivers’ homes.
First, at a pre-dawn roadblock at the Theo Marais sports ground on Koeberg Road, traffic officers arrested 16 taxi drivers with 114 fines totalling R138 000 between them.
One driver had 11 warrants of arrest for unpaid fines totalling R14 500, said city traffic spokeswoman Merle Lourens. The second biggest offender had nine warrants and fines to the value of R13 200.
Yesterday afternoon, a second operation was held on Strand Street in Stikland, where 45 warrants were executed and 11 drivers arrested.
A taxi driver was arrested with 11 warrants for outstanding fines amounting to R14 500. Another taxi driver with two warrants for repeated failure to appear in court was held regarding fines totalling R11 900.
Last night, traffic officers called at homes in Brackenfell, Kraaifontein, Durbanville, Bellville and Kuils River.
Traffic authorities said 153 houses were visited and 69 new warrants of arrest were served on drivers for fines totalling just over R50 000. These warrants gave new court dates on which motorists had to appear. Their receipt of the warrants means they could be arrested if they fail to appear.
The mayoral committee member for safety, JP Smith, said there were 1 041 923 unpaid fines involving just under R390 million. Half a million warrants of arrests were outstanding, involving fines totalling R232m.
During on Monday’s operations, 228 warrants of arrest were executed and 27 drivers were arrested. The value of the fines acted upon was R260 250.
Smith said the focus would be on finding drivers with three or more outstanding warrants of arrest, and he understood that the half a million outstanding warrants of arrest had been issued against drivers who typically accumulated more than five such outstanding warrants. This was how the estimated number of motorists – between 70 000 and 100 000 – had been arrived at.
Smith said the operation was not being used as a “cash cow”. The city’s focus was on motorist behaviour and non-compliance. People who did not pay fines or did not arrive in court were the main targets.
“They are completely ignoring the whole process,” he said.
Lourens said officials would be conducting roadblocks for the rest of the week on major routes throughout the city during peak hours.
The static automatic number plate recognition system camera would be used to identify errant drivers.
The provincial government’s information website, Cape Gateway, gives payfine.co.za as the preferred online service provider for the payment of fines.