Government would need a miracle to meet deadline to calibrate traffic equipment ahead of Easter weekend

Unless government can work a miracle, it will miss the deadline to calibrate and validate equipment used for road traffic law enforcement before midnight tonight, as prescribed by the Legal Metrology Act and Legal Metrology Regulations.

The Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, must therefore urgently gazette an extension for the verification of the equipment by a designated body in an accredited laboratory today, otherwise it might not be used as evidentiary purposes in a court of law. Section 22 of the Legal Metrology Act, No.9 of 2014 states that “every type of measuring instrument used for a prescribed purpose, is subject to type approval, unless excluded by regulation”.

According to DA sources, the breathalyser, used for evidentiary breath alcohol testing, has been typed approved.

The Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, and Minister Patel had ample time to correct the situation as the DA wrote to Minister Mbalula two weeks ago asking him to urgently engage with his counterpart to push back the deadline.

The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) have reportedly also requested the Minister to urgently intervene, to no avail.

The DA will write to Minister Mbalula again regarding the grievous oversight and ask whether

  • He has been in contact with Minister Patel regarding this issue and what the outcome of the engagement was; and
  • If he has any insight into why Minister Patel has failed to put these measures in place.

This failure of Minister Patel might have far-reaching consequences. Easter weekend, traditionally one of the most fatal periods every year, is upon us and many people will be traveling for religious purposes, to see their loved ones, or to holiday destinations. It seems the Minister has not considered what the effect the non-compliance will have in terms of law enforcement on our roads as any fine that is issued from 1 April can be contested in court, or the adverse effect on the income of municipalities.

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