Traffic budget questioned

James Ellis, Glenwood

The article “Fury as council clamps down on fine dodgers” (Northern News, March 9) refers.

JP Smith is indicating no money from these fines is going into the directorate of traffic, but into the overall City budget.

What he has not mentioned is the City budgets cater for his directorate, like in the previous financial year where capital funds of R76 million were not spent, but budgeted for (who knows what for) according to Ian Nielson.

R24 million was then shifted to his directorate for the purchase of traffic vehicles and appointment of traffic officers. So, he must not say these fines do not go to his directorate.

* JP Smith, Mayco member for safety and security responds:

The reason the safety and security directorate receives unspent budget is because the level of traffic enforcement is critically important and the need to hire additional staff is dire.

The directorate has consistently, for the past five years, received additional budget in the middle of the financial year mainly due to our excellent track record of spending 99 percent of our budget, which means the City can allocate the budget in the secure knowledge that the money will be spent.

The additional allocations have paid for, among others, vehicles, fire engines, CCTV cameras, disaster management base stations for volunteers, additional Traffic Services and Law Enforcement staff, overtime budget, equipment for volunteers, training budget, funding to recruit and develop Law Enforcement Auxiliary officers, and a riot vehicle with a water cannon to manage illegal land invasions and attacks on our major roads.

Mr Ellis is therefore attempting to create a rather skewed picture.

Instead he should perhaps be proud of living in a city that has the lowest traffic road death toll of any metro in South Africa; where we do not cash-cow traffic fines on soft targets and rather go after the tough targets; and where we have consistently allocated additional budget for something his community has been asking for very loudly for the past few years.

I am afraid Mr Ellis is out of touch with his community as well as the mood of motorists across the city who desperately desire more law and order on our roads.