IT’S literally a free-for-all for traffic offenders across the province because the Eastern Cape traffic department has run out of pink tickets.

The crisis was laid bare when DA transport shadow MEC Johan Pienaar asked a parliamentary question at the Bhisho Legislature this week.

To the shock of the house, transport MEC Thandiswa Marawu admitted no summonses had been issued for the last three months across all six district offices.

That’s because the stock of summons books had been allowed to run out in anticipation of the implementation of the Administrative Adjudication of Traffic Offences (Aarto).

Affected districts include Amathole, from Peddie to Dutywa; O R Tambo including Mthatha; Cacadu (Sarah Baartman) around Port Alfred; Chris Hani including Ngcobo and Cala; Alfred Nzo around Mbizana and Joe Gqabi covering Aliwal North.

Marawu said so far quotations had been requested from three companies for the provincial office to acquire new stationery as stipulated by the Road Traffic Department, but new stock is only expected by the end of this month.

Pienaar said such an excuse was not acceptable, as traffic officials had not been able to write out summonses to road-users who break the law because of the department’s administrative inefficiencies.

“This implies 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,” said Pienaar in reaction to Marawu’s answers.

The province has the two deadliest roads in the country – the N2 between East London and Mthatha and the road between Mthatha and Kokstad.

“(MEC Marawu’s) 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 a department mandated to implement traffic safety allowed the situation to go this far,” he said.

Pienaar this week called for action to be taken against the officials implicated for “poor management”.

But Marawu said there was no reason to take action against anyone as “there are clear reasons given by these officials” and “the necessary process were followed to acquire the books”.