NEWS & ANALYSIS

Nzimande wants to criminalise traffic offences – Fred Nel

DA Gauteng MPL says proposal would mean that jay walkers would find it difficult to get bail

Specialised traffic courts needed to deal with traffic violations

24 April 2018

The DA recommends that specialised traffic courts should be established to deal with traffic violations instead of reclassifying traffic offences to schedule five offences under the Criminal Procedures Act.

This follows the remarks made by the Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande that he will be looking at making all traffic violations a schedule five offence.

This would classify traffic offences as a higher offence than rape in the eyes of the law.

This is not the first time, that a Minister of Transport has hinted at changing traffic violations to a schedule five offence under the Criminal Procedures Act.

Should this indeed happen, then it will make it almost impossible for a pedestrian caught jay- walking to be granted bail.

This announcement by the Minister goes against his own amendment of the Administrative Adjunction of Road Traffic Offences Act (Aarto), which seeks to take traffic violations out of the criminal system.

Furthermore, we need to distinguish what is a serious traffic offence and what is not deemed to be as serious.

The only way we can reduce fatalities on our province’s roads is if we change driver behaviour and improve law enforcement on our roads.

On many occasions I have indicated that road safety campaigns cannot rely on marketing exercises alone.

What we need is comprehensive driver and pedestrian safety education in schools, proper driver training, an appropriate driver license testing system and more visible policing to deal with traffic offences. While the establishment of specialised traffic courts, will allow for a quicker turnaround time in dealing with traffic offences.

We call on the Minister of Transport to rather concentrate on heavier penalties for corrupt officials who sell licenses and take bribes instead of judicial semantics.

These are the real causes of accidents and fatalities on our roads.

Issued by Fred NelDA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport, 24 April 2018