Crack force a ‘disaster’ and Carlisle will ‘kick them out of Cape’
AS SOUTH Africans take to the roads for the Christmas holidays, there are claims that a super traffic cop unit, set up nine months ago to crack down on drunken driving and road deaths, is totally dysfunctional.
And the Transport MEC Robin Carlisle says that should the National Traffic Police Interven- tion Unit set foot in the province, he will go to the courts to get them thrown out.
Weekend Argus has established that the NTP:
Lacks the personnel and resources to operate across the country and only works in three provinces.
Has no fast pursuit vehicles, only 16 luxury 4x4s for 250 officers.
Has hi-tech equipment that doesn’t work.
Has officers who are not properly trained.
Is embroiled in an ugly turf war in Gauteng.
This week a senior Ekurhuleni metro police officer called the establishment of the NTP “a disaster”.
“These guys are driving around in big cars, they come to our areas, take over an accident scene and they mess it up with no accident report issued,” he said.
“There is nothing these guys are doing that we don’t do, in fact they don’t even know what they are doing, they don’t know their jurisdiction and they are inexperienced.”
The NTP was launched with great fanfare by Transport Minister S’bu Ndebele in March. He billed the unit as the “crack force” that would target speedsters, drunk drivers and other traffic offenders. The unit’s 250 officers were said to have received specialised training at the Tshwane Metro Police Academy in Pretoria West.
But it has been established that the officers underwent no special training and in fact were trained “strictly for traffic enforcement, unlike local metro cops”.
The unit does not operate in the Western Cape and Carlisle said he would not have them here.
“Collins Letsoalo, acting CEO of the Road Traffic Management Corporation, has said the NTP can be rolled out in any province, but this is simply not true. The entire system is dodgy.
“These officers were originally recruited to enforce the tolls on the Gauteng freeways.
“They were unlawfully selected, unlawfully trained and unlawfully armed. Many of the initial recruits had criminal records for violent crimes and, although they have been terminated since, it still raises serious concerns.”
Carlisle said the NTP was an attempt by the SA Road Agency Limited and Letsoalo to force the collection of toll fees.
“I’ve seen the copy of the agreement and the entire thing is irregular if not outright illegal.” NTP officers told sister title the Saturday Star they couldn’t arrest reckless drivers because they have no vehicles to put them in. NTP chief David Tembe refused to comment. Road Traffic Management Corporation spokesman Ashref Ismail conceded that resources were a challenge because of limited funds.