Worst traffic offender arrested in Cape Town roadblock

File: Operation Reclaim is an initiative aimed at targetting the 100 worst traffic offenders. Photo: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Sibosiso Funisela (33) of Browns Farm in Philippi was stopped in a roadblock on Wednesday morning and arrested for 56 outstanding traffic warrants of arrest and general traffic offences in the amount of R63,650.

He was later found to have a total of 238 outstanding warrants of arrest to the value of R155,600. 

He was arrested by officers from the City’s Traffic Services as part of Operation Reclaim, an initiative aimed at targetting the 100 worst traffic offenders. He is being held in custody at the Gallows Hill Traffic Depot in Green Point.

The roadblock, utilising the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology, pulled Funisela over and informed him of his plight. 

According to Alderman Jean-Pierre Smith of the Mayoral Committee of Safety and Security, Funisela will appear in Darling Street Traffic Court on 29 November to answer charges relating to outstanding traffic violation warrants.

It is believed that Funisela has 56 outstanding warrants, and an additional 91 have been processed. He will be asked to appear in court for these 147 warrants.

Additional outstanding fines linked to Funisela have not yet been processed and he will appear later to plead to those charges.

Funisela is a taxi owner who drives a taxi and also has numerous drivers working for him. 

Alderman Smith said the City had been seeking Funisela for a long time, and had put an admin mark (a mark indicating outstanding warrants) against his name on the e-natis system. This admin mark prevents him from renewing his license anywhere in the country, and ensures he has a motivation to sort out outstanding fines.

Alderman Smith indicated that many of the fines are being generated by Funisela's drivers. This does not excuse him from responsibility as it is incumbent on him to fire drivers who are breaking the law.

Smith says that Cape Town has placed an acute focus on their top 100 offenders recently, and have increased roadblocks using ANPR threefold and are currently utilising up to 10 roadblocks a day, giving offending vehicles very few places to move undetected. He says plans are to increase this tenfold in the near future to deal with the many outstanding warrants they have been unable to recover, as well as to extend the ANPR system to the CCTV cameras on the highways.

Smith says "drivers often evade fines by giving incorrect residential information. I am in talks with Robin Carlisle, the Western Cape provincial Minister for Transport regarding certain critical interventions including legalising the right to impound vehicles where a driver does not have a license or a vehicle is not registered."

This will ensure that drivers do not get away with evading the admin mark by simply accepting a fine for not having their license - often insignificant compared to outstanding fines - the threat of impoundment will ensure owners are incentivised to license their vehicles and pay their fines.

Smith says that Carlisle "has also agreed in the new provincial traffic act to include a Fica style proof-of-address account when applying for car licenses, so that traffic officials can prove drivers live where they say they live."

He says he aims to close all loopholes for offending drivers. He says the e-natis system is being taken up rapidly throughout the country, and the admin mark is already in effect nationally, ensuring no driver will be able to license their vehicle in another municipality to evade fines.


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