The City of Johannesburg (COJ) has terminated the Traffic Freeflow (TTF) and OUTsurance project for provision of pointsmen services in the Johannesburg area after 13 years of operation, Alex News reports.
According to the COJ’s MMC for Public Safety Michael Sun, the decision came after the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) upgraded its function and appointed an additional 180 traffic wardens, who will be deployed in various traffic hot spots to ensure that traffic continues to be managed efficiently.
“This process is part of the JMPD’s legislative and core mandate to ensure a free traffic flow while ensuring driver, passenger and pedestrian safety,” he said.
Sun explained that the City of Johannesburg had decided not to renew a contract with a service provider who dispatched pointsmen to manage traffic across various hot spots.
“The department of public safety made the decision on 5 August, thus services being rendered will come to an end at the end of August.”
He said it was unfortunate that the service provider was spreading rumours of impending traffic chaos once they ceased to render their services to the city.
“We want to assure residents that these claims are unfounded as that risk is already being managed for a smooth implementation. Our position is a simple one – the interests of our residents come first. The city welcomes any constructive and beneficial partnerships with service providers through proper means. We won’t be bullied by corporates,” Sun stated.
In a statement released by OUTsurance, they were deeply disappointed to learn of the termination of TFF’s contract with the city.
The person who first approached the city with the proposal to supply privately sponsored traffic pointsmen and the founder of TFF, Colleen Bekker, said: “It’s a very sad day for me personally, for our staff, for our 36 sponsors and in particular the motorists of Johannesburg, who have come to depend on the service the pointsmen have offered in getting them through heavy traffic every morning and afternoon for the past 13 years.”
According to the statement, OUTsurance has remained the anchor sponsor of the project since its inception, and to date has invested more than R190 million for the provision of this free service in Johannesburg alone, with a current contribution in excess of R20 million per annum.
The project employed 186 pointsmen who collectively serviced all the Metro police’s jurisdictions, including the CBD, Fourways, Sandton, Randburg, Midrand and Soweto. All pointsmen were trained by the Metro police and serve as official reserve traffic wardens.
“We have no other option but to move on and deal with our disappointment. My deepest thanks go to every single member of staff at TFF who have made the project the huge success that it was in Johannesburg for the past 13 years, our sponsors and in particular OUTsurance for its unwavering support and funding, but most importantly the motorists who contributed to the success of this project by recognising and visibly displaying their appreciation for the help we were offering improving traffic flow,” Bekker said.
Residents are advised to continue to make use of the 24-hour traffic hotline, which was launched in March 2017 by Sun and the City of Johannesburg’s Mayor, Herman Mashaba. They can report any traffic-related incident. Once a call is received, the call centre agent will dispatch pointsmen where they are needed to ease congestion.