Each year, the number of accidents on Cape Town’s roads spikes. In an effort to reduce the amount of road deaths this year, the City of Cape Town is considering deploying Traffic Services officers around the clock for the upcoming festive season.

Last year, an average of 15 fatalities occurred on the Cape’s roads, with a total of 1 315 deaths counted over the festive season. Although this number is high, it was, in fact, lower than 2016’s count of 1 372 road fatalities.

If these plans are approved, a dedicated traffic unit will patrol Cape Town’s roads day and night.  The unit will pay special attention to areas outside of the city metro, as well as provincial and national roads.

As reported by IOL, the City’s proposal states that Cape Town’s roads are most active between 6am and 10pm each day.

“Traffic Services have three duty shifts of 6am to 2.30pm, 10.30am to 6.30pm and 3.30pm to midnight, which rotate over a four-week cycle,” Mayco member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, said to IOL. “Some uniformed traffic personnel work office hours, performing non-operational functions. Specialised sections within traffic services adhere to the same basic rotation but work differently to attend to specific complaints. Presently, the number of personnel involved in enforcement within Traffic Services is not sufficient to have a further rotation to cover a period from midnight to 6am.”

If the 24-hour traffic unit is approved, 24 inspectors and 240 additional traffic officers will service four metro regions.

“During [the] festive season we bring on board additional hours of operations [using our] overtime budget. It’s not sustainable throughout the year, but over peak festive season staff put in longer hours on overtime, which increases our presence on the road,” Smith said.

A total of R166-million will be needed to support the implementation of the 24-traffic unit. Of this amount, R72-million will be spent on salaries, R2.6-million on firearms, R2.1-million on radios and R2.6-million on uniforms.

In 2017, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) said that it wanted to finalise the implementation of a 24-hour shift system for traffic officers across the country.

The Western Cape received the first pilot rollout of around-the-clock traffic officers on duty last September.

Picture: Supplied/City of Cape Town

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