Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Blame the "racist" videographer!

Why is it that when our national government ministers and their provincial counterparts get caught breaking the law, they almost invariably blame the previous "racist" government or some other "racist?"

Bheki Cele, the Transport Minister for Kwazulu-Natal, instead of taking responsibility for his own actions, heaped blame on a "racist" motorist for filming the Transport Minister's speeding convoy.

Instead of travelling the legal speed on the road they were using, the convoy was speeding at 160Km/h (100mi/h) which is 40Km/h faster than our highest speed limit in South Africa.

Using smokescreens and mirrors, the minister pointed at the motorist who broke the law by using his cellphone in filming the speeding event while driving himself. Of course the motorist was breaking the law by "using" his cellphone (without a hands-free kit) while driving. However, this does not detract from the fact that the minister himself was speeding.

Cele claims that the National Road Traffic Act (No. 93 of 1996) exempts him from keeping the speed limit, since the law "exempts the police, traffic officers and defence-force members from speeding with blue lights." He continued to explain that this includes the police VIP protection unit while driving ministers around in the execution of their duties.

I decided to have a look at the
National Road Traffic Act (No. 93 of 1996) myself to see what it has to say on this matter.

All I can say about this is that Bheki Cele read what he wanted to read in this law. It gives him as a minister no exemption concerning the law on speeding.

Section 60, which speaks to the issue of exemption from speeding laws has this to say:

"60. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 59, the driver of a fire-fighting vehicle, a rescue vehicle or an ambulance who drives such vehicle in the carrying out of his or her duties, a traffic officer who drives a vehicle in the carrying out of his or her duties or any person driving a vehicle while engaged in civil protection as contemplated in an ordinance made in terms of section 3 of the Civil Protection Act, 1977 (Act No. 67 of 1977), may exceed the applicable general speed limit: Provided that-

"(a) he or she shall drive the vehicle concerned with due regard to the safety of other traffic; and

"(b) in the case of any such fire-fighting vehicle, rescue vehicle, ambulance of vehicle driven by a person while he or she is so engaged in civil protection, such vehicle shall be fitted with a device capable of emitting a prescribed sound and with an identification lamp, as prescribed, and such device shall be so sounded and such lamp shall be in operation while the vehicle is driven in excess of the applicable general speed limit."

As can be clearly seen, only persons driving fire-fighting vehicles, rescue vehicles, ambulances, traffic vehicles or any person "driving a vehicle while engaged in civil protection" may exceed the speed limit.

Thus, the only reason a person may speed is "
in the case of any such fire-fighting vehicle, rescue vehicle, ambulance of vehicle driven by a person while he or she is so engaged in civil protection."

Therefore, Bheki Cele is guilty as charged and should be given the same legal penalty that would be afforded to any other South African citizen! He, and his convoy broke the law and should be punished accordingly.

The fact is that he was not engaged in civil protection at the time of the speeding violation.

Will he be held accountable for this speeding violation? Don't hold your breath!

2 comments :

Annie Sparg said...

What does the law say about a cell phone
Thou shalt not talk
not thou shalt not take a photograph :-)

Anyway William can you please figure the following for me cause I simply do not know where to search for it...
Polisiëringslede gaan geld kry
Lede van gemeenskapspolisiëringsforums (GPF’s) sal vergoed word vir vrywillige werk wat hulle in gemeenskappe doen.
Dít was een van die aankondigings wat me. Susan Shabangu, adjunkminister van veiligheid en sekuriteit, gister tydens ’n imbizo in die Madibeng-distrik (naby Brits in Noordwes) gemaak het.
HOW MUCH AND WHEN AND WHERE?

Anonymous said...

The definitions in the road traffic act include Police and Peace officers under the title "Traffic Officers" so technically they were acting within the law in that regard. If they were using both their sirens and blue lights then they would be exempt from the speed limit if they were conducting themselves in the execution of their duties which, if they were VIP protection unit, they would be. It is also common practise world-wide to move high risk convoys at high speed to reduce the opportunity for attack.

It is an offence to OPERATE a cellular phone whilst driving a motor vehicle, and to do so while doing 160km/hr might up the ante to "Reckless/Negligent Driving". It is also highly unwise to approach a VIP protection convoy that is moving at speed as it may be interpreted as a threat. Darwin awards may be issued to those who wish to play that game.

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