Traffic cops get extra cars
Mpumalanga MEC for roads and transport Jackson Mthembu has launched state-of-the art traffic vehicles that are fitted with, among others things, a moving violation and number plate recognition systems.
The launch took place along the N4 highway near Mataffin on Tuesday, where the construction of Mbombela Stadium for the 2010 Soccer World Cup is under way.
Police and traffic cops manned a roadblock along the road near a marquee in which Mthembu addressed the people attending.
He was accompanied by Mbombela mayor Lassy Chiwayo and other senior department officials.
Several vehicles were stopped and motorists were asked to alight and were subjected to body searches while the vehicle theft unit checked for stolen vehicles.
Mthembu handed over three unmarked Audi cars fitted with the "moving violation system" that monitors and tracks down habitual offenders for reckless as and negligent driving, inconsiderate driving and disregard for road traffic signs.
"We have three ready-made cars for the Easter weekend," said Mthembu.
"These cars will be deployed throughout the province on the basis of areas of increased violations."
Each vehicle is also fitted with the "automotive number plate recognition system" that monitors and tracks down unlicensed vehicles, unpaid traffic fines, summonses, contempt of court, vehicles associated with fraudulent number plates, wanted stolen vehicles registered with authorities, and expired licences.
Journalists were given an opportunity to travel in the vehicles, which have cameras that record any movement on all its sides and which are capable of recording the speed of a vehicle travelling in front, sides and at the back.
"The video cameras in the vehicles are even able to record conversations up to a range of 50m.
This means if a motorist tries to offer a traffic officer a bribe, that conversation can be recorded and used in court at a later stage," said Dan Khoza, a provincial traffic inspector.
Mthembu also unveiled 27 marked traffic vehicles, bringing to 94 marked traffic vehicles for the province in the past two months.
He stated that statistics indicated that during the 2008 Easter holidays, the province had 39 fatalities on its roads and that the department planned to have a drastic reduction during this year's Easter period.