The George Municipality is this week sending 11 traffic wardens to year-long traffic school to become traffic officers – the most to have gone at one time in many years.
George Municipality Director Protection Services Steven Erasmus said the six women and five men going off to Port Elizabeth Traffic College had been working for the municipal traffic department for four years in different capacities – initially as contract workers and as permanent traffic wardens since last June. “We expect them to do very well and return as qualified traffic officers that will complement our services in a fast-expanding city. As traffic wardens they were legally limited in their duties, but as traffic officers they will be able to enforce all aspects of the National Road Traffic Act as well as local municipal bylaws,” said Mr Erasmus.
This is the second group of trainees sent in the past five months – another six started training in Cape Town in August 2017. Once graduated, the municipality will be adding 17 permanent traffic officers to the current 32 officer complement (including senior personnel).
George Traffic Department Manager Donovan Saptoe said the city was growing rapidly and with it, traffic law enforcement needs. “More officers mean higher visibility, increased selective enforcement, more effective handling of complaints and better overall service to the community. “With plans to expand the Go George bus service and an increasing need for 24-hour traffic law enforcement in a growing city, every quality officer will contribute significantly to our mandate to protect and serve the people of the George municipal area.”
Mr Saptoe explained the department intentionally walked a road with these students, knowing they were quality people with the character and capability to pass traffic school and bring their skills set home. “We believe in investing in our people so they can live and make a difference in their own communities – from providing traffic and law enforcement services near where they live to being inspiring role models of what is possible with hard work and perseverance. These students are not just employed, they are empowered,” said Mr Saptoe. He thanked and lauded council for supporting the investment to develop its employees and ultimately producing an expanding fleet of quality officers.
George Executive Mayor Melvin Naik commended the students for qualifying for traffic school and encouraged them to make the most of the opportunity to develop and grow. “We are very proud of what you have already achieved – this is the culmination of perseverance. George traffic students have through