GEORGE NEWS - The fixed speed camera in Kaaimans Pass that traps speeding motorists travelling eastwards to Wilderness also traps speedsters in the opposite direction, and there is nothing new to its operation, according to the George Municipality.
Two local motorists who were caught on camera for speeding while travelling from Wilderness to George were highly surprised to hear this. They say speed law enforcement on westward-bound traffic has never been done before, otherwise they would have started receiving fines long ago.
According to the municipality, approval for the camera was granted in 2008 and it was applicable to speed law enforcement in both directions. They did not want to supply the approval documents issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The speed limit in the camera's enforcement zone (westward) is 60km/h and it changes to 80km/h within a few hundred metres from the camera. The complainants question whether the camera is located within the prescribed minimum distance from the 80km/h board. According to the municipality's speed camera service provider, "the only change is (that) a battery-operated camera replaced the existing camera on the pole this year".
The setup of the unit is within the given guidelines.
"The camera does lane identification and indicates which vehicle in which lane has driven over the speed limit. This site is monitored very closely and a site visit is done every day, seven days a week," they said.
Sanral said they had granted George Municipality authority for the camera by means of a way leave approval. They referred queries regarding legal compliance pertaining to the location of the camera to the municipality.
Not only motorists are under the impression that this camera was set up to trap only eastward-bound traffic. In an internal e-mail that was provided to the newspaper, a local regional manager in the provincial traffic department writes to a colleague at George Municipality: "I was always aware that speed law enforcement was conducted in one direction by the fixed camera, and that was from George towards Wilderness. I am not aware of any changes in the opposite direction and I will suggest that the George Traffic Department look at their application and the authority granted to conduct speed law enforcement.
"I made enquiries to Sanral and was told that the matter is under investigation as they are also not aware of any other camera that was erected in that area." He says in the e-mail that "no application regarding any extra camera for speed law enforcement was received for Kaaimans Pass".
Queries that the newspaper sent to determine whether the municipality is required to apply for the adjustment of an existing camera (if it was indeed adjusted in this case), elicited no response from the municipality, Sanral or provincial traffic.
Layton Beard of the AA said he was also unsure about this. "But I don't understand why motorists are complaining. They should stick to the speed limit for their own and others' safety."
The guidelines of the Technical Committee for Standards and Procedures for Traffic Control and Traffic Control Equipment (TCSP) on speed law enforcement are also not clear on the matter.
Both complaining motorists said they are not against law enforcement, but would like to be sure that the municipality had followed due process, and this, says the local authority, it has done.
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