Green boxes resembling roadside electricity or telecommunications cabinets that have popped up alongside busy Pietermaritzburg roads are disguised speed cameras, The Witness reported.
These boxes are non-permanent speed traps, which motorists report disappear and then reappear at certain roadside spots.
Drivers have questioned the legality of the hidden cameras, since no warning signs are posted on the stretches of road where these traps are active.
The Technical Committee for Standards and Procedures (TCSP) guidelines which regulate speed measuring equipment in SA do not mention the need for warning signs.
“There used to be a requirement that where motorists were not stopped at the time, signs warning of speed prosecution by camera have to be displayed,” said Justice Project South Africa chairman Howard Dembovsky.
This is no longer the case, except for average speed prosecutions.
Regarding average speed limit prosecutions, the TCSP guidelines specify that “information signs must be displayed at the approach of an average speed over distance enforcement section.”
Unmanned temporary speed traps
It was also previously illegal for law enforcement to use mobile or temporary unmanned speed traps.
This changed in December 2012, when the deployment of unmanned speed measuring devices of a non-permanent nature was legalized.
Dembovsky argued that the change was unlawful, and said the use of radar-based unmanned traps has mushroomed since the law change.
An issue which might make these types of cameras illegal in Pietermaritzburg’s case is that the contract with Traffic Management Technologies (TMT) to manage the cameras expired in 2009.
The Witnewss reported that Msunduzi municipality stated the movable cameras are legal and were installed to keep roads safer.