Cape Town – Work will start soon on the expansion of the City’s Ndabeni vehicle impound lot.
The pound is one of two City-owned facilities where impounded vehicles are stored. The R7,5 million upgrade will mean more room for public transport vehicles whose drivers fail to toe the line.
The pound has a carrying capacity of 400 vehicles and the expansion will take the capacity to nearly 750 vehicles.
The scope of work in phase one of the project includes the construction of a paved area with demarcated parking bays, the installation of a stormwater drainage system and high mast lighting.
There is also a three-metre high reinforced boundary wall with electric fencing.
In January 2019, the Safety and Security Directorate received additional funding through the City’s Adjustment Budget and R7, 5 million has been set aside for the Ndabeni vehicle impound expansion, which is due to be completed by end June 2019.
"The Ndabeni pound has historically been used for private vehicles that have been left abandoned, while impounded public transport vehicles have been kept in the Maitland pound. The high number of confiscations means that we do not have sufficient space, and so going forward the additional capacity at Ndabeni will be used to store taxis too," said Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.
Between 1 January and 14 March 2019, the Cape Town Traffic Service had:
- impounded 678 minibus, minibus and sedan taxis
- 495 for drivers operating without a permit
- 183 for operating contrary to the conditions of their permits
- released 702 taxis that had been impounded
"Our taxi pound is like a revolving door. In most cases, vehicles are collected within a day or two and the offending driver returns to the road to continue bad driving behaviour. Very few are deterred by the steep increases in the impoundment release fee for repeat offenders.
"Changes to the law now also mean that vehicles can be impounded for serious driving offences and not just permit transgressions. So, the rate of impoundments will likely increase, but I remind members of the public to consider the logistics of impounding a vehicle and that it takes an officer out of circulation for the time that he or she has to get that vehicle to the pound and complete all of the necessary documentation," said Smith
Public transport vehicles that are not collected from the impound lot are usually disposed of after 18 to 24 months. These vehicles are generally crushed using a compactor.
"The policing of the public transport industry is hard work and very often a thankless task. We face ongoing criticism for our apparent lack of action against taxi drivers. The statistics, however, show that we are doing as much as we can with the resources that we have at our disposal. We desperately need tougher laws that will help make a real impact.
"Temporary impoundment is a nuisance at best; I still believe that a three-strike system that results in permanent confiscation will have drivers singing a different tune altogether – and not just in the public transport sector," said Smith.
Between July 2018 and December 2018, the Cape Town Traffic Service accumulated the following enforcement statistics in terms of public transport operators:
- 2 139 taxi impoundments
- 59 802 driving offences
- 22 711 Public Driving Permit (PrDP) and operating permit contraventions