Background of the Study
In South Africa, traffic laws are administered by the government by registered authorities and the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA). Also, the government allows authorized private firms to oversee the administration of traffic laws in the country. The traffic infringement agency, however, carries the bulk of traffic law enforcement. The agency aims at achieving its objectives through creating community awareness programs and transparent communication. For enforcement of traffic law, proper management of the issuing authorities and the agency is required. The issuing authorities in the country are given the mandate by the transport department. There has been increased integration between the government, private stakeholders, non-governmental organizations, and other civil societies. Despite the efforts of these stakeholders, the numbers of road accidents in the country have increased at an alarming rate. The road traffic infringement agency and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) are authorized to coordinate, make strategies, and enhance cooperation in an effort to enforce compliance with road traffic laws.
Road safety enforcement efforts, however, have not been established to a level that has brought desired results. Road carnage in the country has been on the rise despite the government efforts. The government, through the legislature and the authorized bodies has developed strategies and policies that are aimed at improving the current road safety situation. In the last two decades, South Africa has seen a tremendous increase in the number of vehicles. Consequently, the increased motorization has led to increased road accidents which are recorded as one of the highest road accidents rates in the world. There are many reasons that have been deliberated to address the phenomenon but the one key issue is the inefficiency of the established compliance regulations.
The society becomes inhabitable without the necessary governing laws. If law is not followed, the results can be devastating on the welfare of the citizens. The imposed traffic laws need to be enforced to guarantee safety on the roads. If people observe the consequences of not following the law, they are more persuaded to become more compliant with the traffic laws. Compliance with the traffic laws should be a fundamental goal if countries require reducing the rates of road carnages. Road safety can be achieved by first establishing stern measurements that encourage adherence to traffic law compliance.
Cases of traffic offences in South Africa are arbitrated on the same manner as the other criminal behaviors. The traffic offences, therefore, also fall under the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977). The National Road Traffic Act 1996 (Act No. 93 of 1996), is responsible for handling any issues regarding traffic offences. Appointment of the authorized officers and registration of the relevant issuing authorities is enclosed in the Road Traffic Act, 1989 (Act No.29 of 1989) and National Road Traffic Act, 1996 (Act No.93 of 1996) respectively. The Criminal Procedures Act also contributes some enhancing segments to these sections. The municipalities are mandated by the constitution to administer traffic offences and matters concerning parking in areas within their jurisdiction. These powers are given by the Practical Guide for Traffic Fines in section 156 (1) of the constitution of South Africa. The municipalities need to establish elements such as traffic management systems, standards and operating procedures, and service agreements. The procedures and standards are outlined in both the AARTO Act 46 of 1998 and the Criminal Procedures Act 51 of 1977. However, the powers of the municipalities are not limited by the availability of these elements since they can still act even when they lack these essentials.
The AARTO Act of 1998 was enacted in an effort to enhance the road traffic compliance in the country. The Act provided legislations that discouraged infringements of the road traffic laws. Also, the Act facilitated the arbitration of traffic law infringements and offered credible backing to the prosecutor during proceedings related to road traffic laws. There are two hundred seventy eight municipalities in South Africa but only two of these follow the provisions of the municipal Act 117 of 1998. The other municipalities offer the infringement notices in the terms stipulated in the National Road Traffic Act of 1996 whose regulations are outlined in terms of the Criminal Procedures act.
There issuing authorities need to follow the set regulations, standards, procedures, and policies of both the criminal procedure act 51 of 1977 and the AARTO act 46 of 1998. These two provisions give the authorities the mandate to oversee the governing of traffic offences in South Africa. Traffic law compliance is enforced by traffic officers from the given issuing authorities. They are given power by the same statutes that govern the issuing authorities. Any infringement of the laws initiates the infringement process which starts by issuance of a notice. The infringer should comply with requirements indicated in the infringement notice and failure may finally end up a court trial. There are insufficient issuing authorities in the country which results to the existing ones to outsource contracting companies that give them the necessary powers. The private contractors offer support in the form of issuing traffic enforcement amenities, offering training to the officers in the issuing authorities, maintenance and repair services to damaged enforcement equipment. Additionally, the companies offer administrative support in the issuing authorities’ offices such as posting infringement notices but their mandate is limited by the terms of the criminal procedures act section 341. Finally, the private contractors also provide authorised agents for offering support as specified in section 54 of the criminal procedure act of 1977. Therefore, traffic law infringement procedure includes registered authorities, the court system, and the private contractors. To effect the finalization of the traffic law infringement cases, there needs to be positive interaction among the three stakeholders.
South Africa transcended the apartheid regime and embraced democracy. This shift necessitated the organizations to recognize knowledge as a fundamental asset. In the apartheid regime, few people accessed quality education and could engage in major economic decisions. However, in the democratic era, the economy has created chances for all willing citizens who have the capability in management and administration. The citizens can use their knowledge when deployed in various posts in organizations. Through knowledge management and sharing, the organizations can develop strategies that grant them competitive advantages. The organizations are encouraged to develop the right paths that will help them in managing their internal knowledge.
Efficient management of traffic infringement comes from various sources of knowledge. The courts, issuing authorities, and private contractors should share the knowledge and establish worthy relationship that will help in finalization of traffic law infringement cases. In addition to capitalization and utilisation of knowledge resources, knowledge sharing is also important and produces positive results. Knowledge sharing can occur within an organization or can be shared across organizations (Dixon 2000 p.5). Knowledge sharing enhances knowledge management initiatives that are aimed at addressing the challenges deterring the achievement of finalizing traffic law infringements. It is also agreeable that for effective finalization of the traffic law cases, all the stakeholders involved need to play their respective roles by incorporating knowledge management strategies in their organizational structures.
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