The City of Cape Town’s sustainable warrant operation has seen tremendous success since launching in February 2019, with a notable increase in the number of motorists owning up to outstanding warrants of arrest for unpaid traffic-related debt.
Launched on 26 February 2019, the operation has seen more resources devoted to ‘Operation Reclaim’ which aims to clear a backlog of warrants for traffic offences and hold more motorists accountable, in order to drive behavioural change and reduce motor vehicle accidents and the resultant death toll.
In a statement on Thursday (28 March), the city said that it had served just shy of 10,000 warrants during the first four weeks of the operation.
The city said that the number of offending motorists have been tracked down through Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology, roaming patrols, roadblocks and officers going door-to-door.
In the first four weeks (until 26 March 2019), traffic officers have:
- Served 9,855 warrants valued at R16,071,550;
- Arrested 123 motorists who were held in custody until their court appearance;
- Arrested 3,398 motorists who were later released on a warning to either settle their warrants or appear in court on a later date.
“The statistics are extremely encouraging. If we’re able to sustain the pace of the operation, road safety and courteous driving can only improve going forward,” said the city’s mayoral committee member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.
“We indicated at the start of this operation that it is not about arresting motorists, but about getting them to attend to their fines and warrants.
“We have stayed true to this undertaking as only a fraction of the motorists who have been apprehended have been taken into custody,” he said.
The Cape Town Traffic Service said it had also noted an increase in the number of motorists visiting driving licence testing centres to enquire about and to settle outstanding warrants.
An increase has also been observed in the number of administration marks that have been removed from the National Traffic Information System (NaTIS).
The administration mark was introduced several years ago to prevent motorists from conducting transactions on the NaTIS, like renewing vehicle licences or driving licences if they had warrants for unpaid traffic fines.