By Wardah Wilkinson
Authorities have urged residents to report illegal street racers and errant drivers speeding in residential areas. Residents of Lost City in Tafelsig, Mitchell’s Plain are up in arms after a young boy was knocked and killed by illegal street racers on Sunday. According to reports, Theo Arends and his two sons had been walking down Erica Way when they were struck by two vehicles. Witnesses reported that two men were dicing and swerved for a taxi, when they collided into the three. Nine-year-old Tyrin Arends succumbed to his injuries.
According to some residents, since last year, five children have been killed as a result of motorists and taxi drivers speeding down the busy road. Speaking to VOC, one resident who asked to remain anonymous said they reported the speeding and reckless driving to the City of Cape Town three years ago, after a learner was knocked over by a mini bus taxi. The accident left the young girl paralysed.
“There are about 900 children in this area passing this street. We are requesting that speed bumps be put in the area, as buses and taxi are also using these areas. We have sent pictures to the city and they even employed traffic officials to guide the children, but this continues to happen,” said a community member.
A second community member felt that the City of Cape Town was discriminating against them.
“If this was a white area, traffic officials would be there every daily. The government doesn’t care about the poor.”
Residents say young, brazen youth are using the streets as their own racing track. The only solution is speed bumps. In Erica Street, there are bends and it very likely that a speedster can collide into someone’s house.
“We have been asking for speed bumps for so long, but it has fallen on deaf ears. Every week there are accidents in someone’s near someone’s house or yard. We can’t sleep sometimes as we fear the speedsters could strike.”
In response, the City of Cape Town’s Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith urged the City to report these illegal racers by calling the operations centre on 021 480 7700 or 107.
“This is one of those situations where no matter what the City does, we are going to experience a degree of criticism. But we have taken steady and continuous steps against street racers. Every week there are public statements showing our progress in clamping down on street racers.”
The City Law Enforcement officers and the Ghost Squad conduct regular operations to clamp down on illegal drag-racing, said Smith.
“I was present when the Ghost Squad arrested a reckless driver in Spine road Mitchell’s Plain. The driver was so drunk that he could not get out of the car. If any of the things that deviate the vehicle from the Nation Road Traffic Act, the traffic officers can pull the driver over to do an inspection. If the vehicle is not road worthy, the dicer will be confiscated and the car needs to be road worthy in 30 days,” he explained.
Younger motorists are predominantly being pulled over or fined for having vehicle modifications or alterations done to their vehicles. The most common modifications people do is boosting engine capacity, as well as the use of illegal devices such as nitrous oxide cylinders, dropping suspensions and fitting bigger wheels. People are still tinting their windows very dark, fitment of various body panels, spoilers and diffusers. It’s also common to emit louder sounds, and installation of super sound systems.
“The City’s interpretation of the law of vehicles is, any modification on a vehicle that renders it unroadworthy is illegal. The only way that the vehicle can be road worthy is if meets the standards that SABS approves. People who race and those who modify their cars actually has no direct link. There are reckless and stupid driving individuals whose cars are not modified.”
In 2017 the driving regulations in South Africa was introduced by the then Minister of Transport in her campaign against irresponsible driving and deaths on SA roads. These regulations which started the 11 May 2017, stipulated new speed limits “to be reduced from 60km/h to 40km/h in urban areas, from 100km/h to 80km/h in rural areas, and from 120km/h to 100km/h on freeways running through a residential areas and goods vehicles above 9000kg GVM to be banned from public roads during peak traveling times,” according to the Government Gazette. VOC