More roadblocks, increased business inspections and speed cameras are back on Johannesburg’s major roads and highways as the metro attempts to drastically raise its revenue collection.
The City of Johannesburg’s Operation Buya Mthetho [Bring back the law] has proven to be about raising revenue collection as much as it’s about enforcing bylaws and preventing crime.
The operation began in February but has already raked in more than R280-million to the coffers of the city, mayor Herman Mashaba’s office announced yesterday.
The operation, which involved visits to businesses and ratepayers who were in arrears, raised R1.8-million in just three weeks after it started.
A metro police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Sowetan they were targeting motorists who owed traffic fines through roadblocks across the city.
City of Joburg’s Karabo Tledima said the operation did not “exist to be a revenue collection vehicle”. She, however, said the operation had collected R286-million by the end of March 2018. “Please note, we are still awaiting feedback on the number of arrests undertaken and notices provided since the commencement,” she said.
ANC’s Jolidee Matongo described Buya Mthetho as “Mashaba’s scare tactics” on residents of the city.
“We’ve seen videos of JMPD [Johannesburg Metro Police Department] officials kicking doors, going into buildings, harassing residents of Johannesburg… instilling fear that they pay what they owe the city,” Matongo said.
JMPD spokesman Wayne Minnaar said Operation Buya Mthetho would be intensified following its successes.
“On April 12, JMPD officers arrested four men with copper cable stolen from the city worth R1.5-million and mayor Mashaba called on the intensification of the operation until crime is reduced,” Minnaar said.
Minnaar said the rolling out of speed cameras was also part of the operation which sought to ensure that lawlessness was eradicated on the city’s roads.