Cape Town explains its ‘new’ speed camera policy

The City of Cape Town has issued a statement on its Traffic and Speed Camera Policy, after it gained significant media and public interest in recent weeks.

It explained that the  Safety and Security and Social Services Portfolio Committee as well as the Mayoral Committee have approved the policy review. Next, the document will serve before full council for final approval, it said.

“The policy is a review of the existing Traffic Violation Camera Policy, which was approved by council in June 2007. All policy documents are periodically reviewed as was the case with this policy recently.

“Some media reports have framed certain aspects of the policy review document as ‘new’ when in reality these provisions have been in place for the last eleven years,” it said.

The key points of the policy include:

  • Camera warning signs be placed not more than 1 kilometre from a fixed speed camera
  • Fixed speed camera housings must be coloured yellow or covered with retro reflective sheeting
  • Fixed or mobile cameras must be visible to vehicles approaching or departing from the point of enforcement
  • The only reason for the policy review was to determine whether the provisions are still relevant after eleven years and whether any changes are required.

“There are two points of view on one of the key issues for the portfolio committee to consider, namely, whether the policy should allow enforcement staff to conceal traffic cameras or whether the policy should require them to be visible,” the City said.

“The opposing points of view on the debate argue that it is better for the cameras to be visible as a deterrent to speeding, on the one hand; and, on the other, that it is better for cameras to be concealed as drivers should always be driving as if they think that there is a speed enforcement camera around and not just slowing down when they note a camera.”

It added that the ultimate goal is to save lives and reduce fatalities on our roads as the number of fatal accidents on South African roads is extremely high.

“The portfolio committee considered these issues as well as the public comment received and confirmed the position held by the current policy that the speed enforcement cameras, both static and manual, should be visibly displayed,” it said.

“This issue has become a point of great debate, but the focus really should be on the behaviour of road users and what they are doing to contribute to road safety efforts.”

Read: These actions can make you legally liable when in a car accident in South Africa

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Cape Town explains its ‘new’ speed camera policy