Fears for Jozi’s traffic as pointsmen contract is cancelled

The City of Johannesburg has decided to not renew the contract of traffic pointsmen in the city.
The City of Johannesburg has decided to not renew the contract of traffic pointsmen in the city.
Image: Halden Krog

Nearly 200 traffic pointsmen who have kept Johannesburg traffic flowing for the past 13 years are set to lose their jobs.

Traffic Freeflow and OUTsurance on Friday expressed disappointment at the City of Johannesburg’s decision not to renew their contract to provide pointsmen to motorists.

The 186 pointsmen‚ who were scattered daily around the busiest intersections in Johannesburg‚ have been working towards making morning and afternoon peak hour commutes as smooth as possible‚ for more than a decade.

Their presence made commuting less stressful for residents.

However‚ the city said its decision not renew the contract was as a result of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department’s upgraded functions as well as the appointment of an additional 180 traffic wardens who will replace the pointsmen.

“It’s a very sad day for me personally… and in particular the motorists of Johannesburg‚ who have come to depend on the stellar service the pointsmen have offered in getting them through sticky traffic every morning and afternoon for the past 13 years‚” said Colleen Bekker‚ the founder of Traffic Freeflow.

The two companies expressed displeasure about being informed about the decision not to renew the contract at a very late stage.

“It is disappointing that the City of Johannesburg has decided not to put a new contract out to tender at the expiration of our existing contract on August 31 2018.

“We only became aware that the contract would not be extended or put out for a new tender‚ at a rather late stage‚” said Bheki Zondo‚ Traffic Freeflow CEO.

OUTsurance CEO Danie Matthee expressed similar discontent‚ saying that the two companies were caught off guard.

OUTsurance said it had invested over R190-million for the provision of this free service in Johannesburg alone.

The MMC for Public Safety‚ Michael Sun‚ however sought to reassure residents. He said that with the JMPD’s additional resources‚ there would be a smooth implementation.

He urged residents to make use of the 24-hour Traffic Hotline‚ which the City launched in March 2017.

“Residents can report any traffic-related incident. Once a call is received‚ the call centre agent will dispatch points men where they are needed to ease congestion‚” Sun said.

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