The use of blue lights on the traffic control vehicles of the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) is completely legal, the company said in a statement on Tuesday, 22 July 2014.
Not only is it legal, Sanral has said that these vehicles need to have blue lights.
“If they don’t, they operate illegally,” Sanral said.
This statement from Sanral follows a press release issued by the Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) ahead of the weekend (Friday, 18 July 2014), in which the chair for the JPSA said that Sanral must remove all Gauteng Traffic Police branding from its vehicles.
“The Sanral e-tolls branded vehicles (midi-buses, trucks, and trailers) all bear the five-pointed star of the GDoCS Gauteng Traffic Police and in the case of midi-buses and trucks, are fitted with blue flashing light bars and, presumably — sirens,” JPSA chair Howard Dembovsky said.
“This in itself is tantamount to impersonation of a traffic officer (vehicle) and since Sanral has now publicly admitted that it ‘has no authority to enforce e-toll laws’, all Gauteng Traffic Police branding, warning lamps, and sirens must be removed from these vehicles forthwith.” Dembovsky demanded.
Sanral has hit back, saying that Dembovsky’s statements expose “the shallowness and lack of understanding of those who purport to be experts on the matter.”
The agency added that it has taken legal advice every step of the way in implementing the highway e-toll system — and won every challenge that has been taken to the courts of the country.
“Those who want to challenge us on the legality of the use of blue lights are welcome to do so,” said Sanral’s head of communications, Vusi Mona.
“It is not their opinion that matters, but what the law says, and we are confident we have done everything by the book. What we do is legal. And that is the case with the blue lights on our vehicles too,” he said.
Sanral said that the attempted controversy over the use of blue lights on traffic control vehicles was “just a red herring.”
The blue lights are only operated by and in the presence of a traffic officer, Sanral said, and the vehicles themselves comply with the applicable legislation.
“What is more important here is the effort to do proper enforcement on our roads, thereby addressing issues such as non-road worthy vehicles, vehicles without number plates or false number plates, and other road traffic offences,” said Mona.
“Self-styled champions of justice and the rule of law ought to be addressing themselves to these issues instead of trying to undermine sound and legal attempts to assist law enforcers on Gauteng’s highways.”