Wheels24

DA: 'Ministers not above law'

2012-07-30 10:28

Cape Town - A dozen ministers have come under the spotlight for amassing a collective R200 000 in fines. The latest official to come under the spotlight was Jeff Radebe with R34 600, though he pales in comparison to the R64 060 earned by mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu.

Government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi "explained" that the National Road Traffic Act allows the drivers of VIP vehicles to exceed the speed limit and ultimately would avoid paying traffic fines.

Wheels24 said last week: "Short of a true emergency, involving threat to human life, and then only by emergency vehicles driven by properly trained people (which some of the current 'blue light' crew obviously are not), NOBODY should be above the laws of the road."

FINES WAVED FOR OFFICIALS


This week Ian Ollis, Democratic Alliance shadow minister of transport, echoed Wheels24 sentiments stating that ministers and VIP units were not above the law.

The National Road Traffic Act authorises officials to exceed the general speed limit when executing their duties however it states, “he or she shall drive the vehicle concerned with due regard to the safety of other traffic”.

Ollis said: "This raises the question as to what should be considered the VIP protection units’ duties when they are transporting ministers. Surely the exemption from traffic regulations is intended to allow for certain personnel to do what is necessary to respond to emergencies. Being late for a meeting or a dinner with friends does not constitute an emergency.

"Everybody has to get from A to B and has to abide by the speed limits, why should a minister not be made to obey those speed limits too?"

Legal experts have argued that when traffic cops or police officials are transporting ministers their “duty” is essentially to protect the life of the VIP. Ollis argues: "One would therefore assume that traffic violations 'in the line of duty' would only occur when the lives of the VIP passengers are in danger."

CALL FOR DETAILS

In reply to the DA’s question on traffic fines, the minister of police indicated that any fines incurred by official vehicles must be reported and supporting documents provided to the respective traffic department for the rescinding of traffic fines. This means that documentary evidence must exist to explain why each traffic violation could not have been avoided.

Ollis sadi: "We will be asking the transport minister to provide us with information on which fines have been rescinded and, in each case, to supply the documentation on which the decision to rescind was based."

"Ministers should not be given special treatment due to their position. They are not above the law and neither are their drivers," he insisted.

Top traffic offending ministers 2012:
Mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu - R64 060
Minister of energy Dipuo Peters - R39 400
Justice minister Jeff Radebe - R34 600
Agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson - R30 400.
Water and environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa - R12 625
Science and technology minister Naledi Pandor - R9800

Share your thoughts in our Readers' Comments section below.

Comments
  • johnathon.masters - 2012-07-30 11:32

    I agree fully. By speeding they endanger the lives of all innocent road users. Speed limits were introduced to reduce accidents, and every citizen of the country must comply. The provincial authorities take speeding so seriously, as to have a speed cop hiding behind every bridge, and putting branches over their heads and hiding in grass heaps to catch speeding motorists. Speed is so important to them that they rarely show any interest in taxi’s going through red robots, driving on the pavement, or going the wrong way up public roads. Further, with regards to the blue light thugs, the public should protest en mass, until Blue Lights and high speeds on public highways are completely banned. They were never necessary in previous Government, and are not necessary now. A Neanderthal and primitive practise followed by Africa's dictators. Who the hell do theses politicians think they are. They all stuff up the country through their corruption, stupidity, and not fit for the job experience and qualifications. Why endanger the public’s life for such a bunch of useless ignoramuses. They believe getting to an appointment on time warrants shooting to kill, driving innocent drivers off the road, and basically murdering motorists. Those that cause accidents should be charged with murder, and serve life sentences like the rest of the armed criminals operating in SA.

      sheda.habib - 2012-07-30 19:48

      What if I was on my my way to the same meeting as the minister...would I be exempt.....!!! When the revolution comes we must not forget these ministers or their drivers..... :) :)

  • johnathon.masters - 2012-07-30 11:52

    In fact the authorities regard speeding in such a serious light, that if you are caught doing 71 kms per hr in a 60 km zone, you are walloped with a massive, close to R 1000 fine. I would have thought that if someone was recklessly driving at 180 kms on a public freeway, they would immediately be locked up in a cell, given bread and water only, made to sleep on a concrete floor without blankets in mid winter, and that the cell keys would be thrown away.

  • ian.flack.37 - 2012-07-30 12:44

    here, here

      klaus.walter.7146 - 2012-07-30 14:05

      There, there..!!

  • jason.marriott.75 - 2012-07-30 13:34

    I don't see any valid excuse considering the technology available today, they can have these meetings remotely if they that important that they need to in danger the lives of others to get to them.

      Raai.wie - 2012-07-30 19:05

      If they do that, they can't take food home for the rest of the family.

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