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Tuesday Jul 02, 2013

Durban residents fight speeding cars

Durban communities are taking to the streets to voice concern over motorists who speed through their neighbourhoods.

Councillor Tim Brauteseth, standing on the ruins of a smashed barrier in Rodger Sishi (Blair Atholl) Road, begs motorists to slow down.

Sydenham/Sparks Estate residents recently took to the streets with a placard demonstration demanding several pedestrian crossings, scholar patrols, and permanent speedtrapping devices or traffic circles be introduced on Moses Kotane (Sparks) Road.

Among the demonstrators was resident Nola Montiere Pietersen, whose daughter, Cassandra Gordan, died in 1994 when she was run over by a car. Pietersen is adamant that the road should be made safer for future generations.

"The motorists do not show any respect for the residents who live here. Many children died here and others have been injured in hit-and-run accidents.

"Cassandra was returning from the shop with my son and friends, and as she stepped off the pavement, a car struck her. The case didn't even go to court," she said. She vowed to try to make the road safer.

Ward councillor Jethro Lefevre said he was concerned at the large number of pupils who crossed the main road.

Rajen Reddy, of the Road System Management Department at the eThekwini Transport Authority, was present at the placard demonstration and told Lefevre he would consult various departments on the matter.

He said the median island did not offer protection to the many pedestrians and pupils crossing the road.

Ward 18 councillor Tim Brauteseth has taken a stand against the speedsters who threaten residents of Westville, Cowies Hill and Pinetown.

He called the speed control in eThekwini "completely dysfunctional".

He has investigated speeding zones in Maryvale and Cotswold in Dawncliffe, Josiah Gumede and Glenugie in Pinetown and Rodger Sishi in Westville.

"All these speed zones have one thing in common: they have little or no intervention from the municipality or metro police," said Brauteseth.

He has previously unsuccessfully applied to the municipality for speed humps throughout dangerous areas in ward 18.

"The reason is always the same. The road is the wrong type or does not warrant traffic safety measures. A further incredible part of the policy is that three deaths are required along a stretch of road before action will be taken. So we literally have to wait for three people to die before someone takes notice," said Brauteseth.

Responding to residents' concerns about speeding and police inaction, metro police spokesman, Senior Superintendent Eugene Msomi, has said its speed timing unit might receive additional speed-timing equipment in October.

He said a maximum of about 10 to 12 officers were engaged daily in speed-timing activities. Msomi said this was a small percentage of a police force in excess of 2 000 members. He said there were six mobile speed cameras, five of which were laser units, the other a conventional camera.

"The speed-timing cameras along the national freeways were installed by the Road Traffic Inspectorate. The municipality will look into purchasing fixed and additional cameras in the next tender," Msomi said.

He said the department's cameras were rotated among various approved speed sites because motorists became accustomed to the sites of cameras and slowed down before reaching them in an effort to avoid prosecution.

Msomi said the city had a strategy in place that seeks to address all concerns relating to speeding motorists. These will include speed cameras and other speed-calming measures.

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