The Western Cape’s provincial Minister of Transport and Public Works, Bonginkosi Madikizela, says that the province is considering stricter traffic rules for the province through amendments to the Western Cape Road Traffic Act.
Responding to a written parliamentary Q&A, Madikizela said that the amendments being considered aim to empower traffic officers and other authorised law enforcement officials to impound motor vehicles for a wide range of transgressions like drag racing on public roads.
Current legislation only allows for vehicle impoundments in very limited circumstances. These circumstances include, amongst other things:
- Public transport vehicles that are off route;
- Public transport vehicles operating without operating licences;
- Motor vehicles used in the commission of a criminal offence; and
- Abandoned vehicles.
The aim of the legislation is to improve road safety throughout the province by ensuring that drivers are held accountable for their actions on the road, Madikizela said.
Under the new proposals, drivers will risk having their vehicles impounded for more serious transgressions on our roads.
Madikizela said that further legislation is also being considered to support a safer road traffic environment in the province.
“Part of this process includes a range of consultations with stakeholders in the law enforcement environment to determine legislative gaps. The aim is to address those gaps through provincial legislation,” he said.
The DA’s Western Cape Committee Spokesperson on Transport and Public Works Daylin Mitchell said that the proposed changes are an important step in making roads safer for all commuters and to hold drivers accountable for their actions.
“Illegal street racing, for example, is a persistent issue which puts not only the driver but every commuter in danger. Nearly half of all arrests by the Cape Town Traffic Services were made in connection to illegal street racing operations.
“I therefore look forward to the committee receiving the proposed amendments to the Western Cape Road Traffic Act.
“Our aim will be to oversee that the amendments effectively empower traffic officers and other law enforcement officials to impound motor vehicles for a wider range of transgressions, such as illegal drag racing.”
Mitchell said that it is the responsibility of every driver to make the roads in the Western Cape safe, but too often poor decision making and illegal activities are place residents at risk
“By capacitating law enforcement to impound vehicles for serious traffic transgressions, these dangerous activities might be mitigated and give officials the necessary teeth to carry out their roles.”