Crack force a ‘dis­as­ter’ and Carlisle will ‘kick them out of Cape’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - THABISO THAKAL and KOWTHAR SOLOMONS

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.