The DA demands that the MEC for Transport, Weziwe Tikana, provides reasons why her department has neglected to provide a large number of provincial traffic officers in the Eastern Cape with uniforms and why their overtime claims have not been paid. I was shocked by the poor working conditions our traffic officials have to put up with when I did oversight visits to traffic departments recently.
Feelings of despondency and low morale amongst traffic officers is a direct result of the neglect and lack of action from the Department of Transport.
Hard working traffic officers must be provided with the right resources and timely compensation for their work in order for them to continue serving our communities with the commitment that the job requires.
During my visits to various traffic offices in the province, it was found that:
- Station commanders and traffic officers at the Butterworth, Queenstown, Grahamstown and Humansdorp Provincial Traffic Department offices reported that overtime claims are outstanding for over six months in some cases;
- It is estimated that the latest supply and delivery of uniforms for traffic officers in Queenstown and Grahamstown took place in 2014;
- Traffic officers are forced to wear torn and worn out uniforms;
- The Grahamstown traffic officials and staff are operating from a small storeroom with no water, electricity or ablution facilities after their offices burned down in September last year. There are 20 staff members at the station.
- Traffic officers in Grahamstown are hesitant to leave their state-owned patrol vehicles to attend to traffic scenes after the spare keys to these cars were stolen from the old building and have not been recovered;
- The department has failed to present and implement a contingency plan to accommodate Grahamstown traffic officers whose office working conditions are unacceptable; and
- Humansdorp station traffic officers reported that they have not been provided with sufficient bullets for their firearms.
I have submitted questions to the MEC enquiring about the provision of uniforms and the non-payment of overtime claims for traffic officers at Butterworth, Queenstown, Grahamstown and Humansdorp Provincial Traffic Department offices.
In the Eastern Cape, the DA will continue to fight for a forward-thinking, caring, opportunity-driven, working province. This includes a professional, well-resourced law enforcement sector that is passionate about serving and protecting South Africans.
Marshall von Buchenroder, MPL