Officials of the Provincial Traffic Department have been unable to write out summonses to road users who break the law because the department ran out of stock three months ago in all districts. This implies that people with overloaded-, unroadworthy- and speeding vehicles have been getting away with their dangerous practices without any consequences. The fiasco is the direct cause of grossly poor management by the Department of Transport.

The Eastern Cape has the two deadliest roads in the country, the N2 between East London and Mthatha – and the second deadliest between Mthatha and Kokstad. In last year’s Road and Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) report the eastern half of the Eastern Cape featured six times in the top 25 most dangerous roads list.

The MEC for Transport, Roads and Public Works, Thandiswa Marawu, admitted in a reply to a legislature question that no summonses were issued in the last three months because the old stock of summons books had been exhausted in anticipation of the implementation of the Administrative Adjudication of Traffic Offences (AARTO).

Her explanation that AARTO was supposed to be implemented by April 2012 and that this date continues to be postponed is no excuse. This situation should have been managed better. Upholding the rules of the law on our roads should be the first priority.

It is reckless and irresponsible that a department who is mandated to implement traffic safety had allowed the situation to go this far.

I have today written to the MEC requesting her to have more of the old summons books printed as a matter of urgency. I have also submitted a legislature question for written reply to explain what, if any, action will be taken against the officials responsible for the poor management of this issue.