Zululand Observer - Weekender

Official show of incompeten­ce?

- Val van der Walt

Tuesday morning in Empangeni looked like the first day of the SA Traffic Police Convention as the intersecti­on at Five Ways Super Spar was a sea of orange and khaki.

Standing in the parking lot at 7am, with an energy drink in hand, I took a few minutes to make sense of the scene.

In total I counted 19 safety-vest clad officials bringing peak morning traffic to a halt in order to check for outstandin­g camera fines.

I guess it was some kind of show of force because only two officers were enough to get the job done; one pointing at the odd driver to pull over and the other handling the paperwork.

The rest, 17 that is, were all standing next to the road doing nothing.

Well, not nothing as in absolutely nothing because they were chatting and socialisin­g, and I imagine compliment­ing each other on having managed to get up so early.

While I’m sure their show of force was well intended, it turned into being a show of incompeten­ce, because just down the road at the Rail robots, motorists behaved as though they were in Amsterdam’s Red Light District; charging in hard and pulling out late.

Why was it necessary to have 19

traffic officers at one roadblock?

There were enough to man almost every single traffic light in Empangeni.

Now that would have been a proper show of force and would have been welcomed by most because the lawlessnes­s on Zululand roads is reaching proper banana republic levels.

The whole thing reminds of a how-many-blondes-does-it-take joke, instead of, in this case, it was how many traffic officers does it take to disrupt peak morning traffic?

It takes 19.

Two to actually block the road and crack the whip, and 17 others socialisin­g on the side.

It explains why nobody takes them seriously any more.

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