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S'bu wants highway vigilantes

2011-12-27 21:55

ROAD CHECKS: Admirable operations, but now S'bu Ndebele apparently wants the traffic cops to be able to summarily confiscate driving licences.


Has Sibusiso 'Million Cars a Month' Ndebele finally lost it? He's calling for traffic cops to have the power to confiscate driving licences... "on the spot" without benefit of "guilty" or "not guilty".

According to a report on eTV news the transport minister apparently said his department was "prepared to face any consequences" to keep the road-death toll down (he's a bit late for that, but whatever...).


Well excuse us poor voters, sir, but your traffic cops do not have the legal right to do that: arrest me, fine. Issue me with an intention to prosecute notice, fine. Breathalayse me and stick me in chookie for the weekend, fine. But please, wait for the laws to be passed before sending your cops off on vigilante missions.

The licence confiscation outburst shows as little forethought as the move a while ago to confiscate cars being driven by people proved to be above the legal blood-alcohol limit, an idea kicked into touch when it was pointed out that such a move would be a) Illegal (because the driver might not own the car) and b) Unfair (because two drivers on the same road with the same alcohol count would face vastly different penalties, depending on the value of the vehicle being driven).

Fact is, only a magistrate or other justice can revoke a driving licence, and that only after a driver has been found guilty of an offence which carries such a penalty. It's the courts' prerogative to impose penalties, not that of some mere politician.


"Desperate times call for desperate measures", Ndebele is reported to have asserted with the death toll more than 900 so far in December and the homeward-bound holiday rush still to come.

Well here's what we say, sir: Speed traps do not make roads safer, visible policing and better driver training make roads safer. And it doesn't help much that the dozens of driving-licence stations across our country are corrupt to the core and have allowed thousands of inept, untrained and potentially lethal people behind the wheels of cars, trucks, buses and taxis. They got the money, but the people of this country paid the price...

Get your political house in order, Mr Minister. Arrest, try and if guilty fine/jail and then summarily sack corrupt traffic department officials, with the loss of all privileges and accumulated pensions and a ban on any further government employment, THEN you will find the appalling death toll on South African roads falling.

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