Cape Town Traffic Services is clamping down on motorists with outstanding fines and warrants with an initiative called Operation Reclaim to clear the backlog and persuade drivers to settle outstanding traffic fines.

City of Cape Town Mayoral committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith urges motorists to pay their outstanding fines.

“We appeal to the public to settle their outstanding warrants to avoid arrest and unnecessary delays during traffic warrant enforcement roadblocks. This is also a call to businesses or proxies to enquire about the traffic history of their employees to ensure driver fitness.”

Operation Reclaim will utilise Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to track down outstanding motorists with warrants. General traffic enforcement will also conduct roaming patrols, door-to-door visits and roadblocks to this end.

Cape Town traffic officers using ANPR technology

The operation will run throughout the year.

Smith explains why the City is implementing the initiative.

“This exercise is about reducing deaths on our roads. It is not only about arresting motorists, but rather to ensure compliance with the law. There are far too many motorists on our roads who have outstanding traffic fines that have progressed to warrant stage. Inaction on our part will simply perpetuate the perception that there are no consequences for bad behaviour and harm our efforts to make our roads safer.”

The table below showcases a summary of warrant executives over a six-month period, with 30 855 warrant arrests between July to December last year.

Supplied: City of Cape Town

According to Smith, drivers are given ample time to resolve their fines.

“Many people are concerned about being arrested at a roadblock for outstanding warrants. If one looks at the statistics, it’s evident that we arrested a smaller percentage of motorists in the most recent six-month period. This is an indication that we are acting in good faith and giving motorists an opportunity to pay these warrants or appear in court on a new date.”

He adds that there are a large number of motorists who accumulate fines and refuse to pay them at all.

“That said, we do have a serious problem with people who deliberately rack up fines and refuse to pay these, as our ‘most wanted’ list attests. Just a few days ago, the Ghost Squad arrested a motorist with seventeen outstanding warrants totalling thirty-five thousand rand. That is not an oversight, but blatant disregard for the law. So we will throw the book at serial offenders.”

The National Road Traffic Act allows the city to put an “administration mark against an applicant’s identity number” if a warrant for their arrest is authorised. This will prevent individuals from performing certain transactions such as licensing their vehicle and renewing their drivers license.

Motorists can view the status of their fines or warrants and pay their fines online by registering on Paycity.

Smith reminds motorists there are a number of ways to resolve their traffic fines.

“Avoiding fines is simple. Just obey the rules of the road. However, where a fine is issued, motorists have options. We need to move away from the perception that fines are a revenue generator, because they’re not. If a fine has been issued in error, motorists have recourse. To simply avoid payment as some form of protest is not the answer. So, I appeal to motorists to register on an online platform like PayCity to track whether they have any fines, or visit their nearest walk-in centre and to pay outstanding fines.”

A number of payment options can be found here.

Cape Town traffic officer checking a traffic fine



Picture: Pexels

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