Traffic Agency should explain exorbitant salary hikes

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Chris Hunsinger MP.

The DA will request that the parliamentary portfolio committee for transport invite the Road Traffic Infringement Agency’s (RTIA) executive team to account for their exorbitant salary hikes.

An investigation by The Sunday Times revealed that the RTIA executive team received salary increases of double or triple in 2020, and that over 5 years the team’s annual salaries swelled from an average R1.3 million to R7.5 million.

These increases are completely unacceptable, without merit, and did not appear to have followed normal benchmarks. The increases as well as performance bonuses were granted despite damning findings against the board by the Auditor-General of South Africa (AG), and the fact that both the CEO, Japh Chuwe, and the CFO, Palesa Moalusi, were suspended for months on end with pay.

These exorbitant salary increases and fat bonuses are wholly unjustified in light of the RTIA’s complete failure to deliver in its mandate to:

  • administer a procedure to discourage the contravention of road traffic laws and to support the adjudication of infringements;
  • enforce penalties imposed against persons contravening road traffic laws;
  • provide specialised prosecution support services; and
  • undertake community education and community awareness programmes in order to ensure that individuals understand their rights and options.

An analysis by the Automobile Association (AA) on annual statistics released by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) revealed that despite the lower fatality rate over the festive season, if the reduction of traffic is taken into account, “it’s clear our road safety situation has not improved at all over the past year. Current road safety initiatives are simply not working, our country won’t reduce fatalities within the current framework”. The AA went so far as to call the fatalities on South African roads an annual national disaster. The DA concurs with this assessment.

Not only does the RTIA wholly fail to enact its mandate; it is also a duplication of the mandates of the RTMC and parts of the Road Accident Fund. The fact is that the RTIA is an absolute failure and seems to have been created for the sole purpose of rewarding loyal cadres – just another avenue to suck the State coffers dry.

The RTIA seems to have no plan or strategy in place to ensure that South Africa’s roads become safer and more law-abiding. The DA will therefore continue to advocate for the merger of the RTIA and the RTMC. We also expect answers from the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, on whether he knew about the outrageous salaries and if he approved it.

The Department also needs to account on whether there are systems in place to stop this daylight robbery and why these systems failed. The Minister and his Department must take responsibility for their failure of oversight.