Effective traffic enforcement is the most important requirement for road safety. We can have the best Rules of the Road, but if these are not enforced effectively, we will continue to have an increase in fatal accidents on our roads. Traffic enforcement is threatened by the crime of corruption, and it is important to understand the nature of such corruptions and the strategies to fight this evil.
What is corruption?
Corruption or bribery is described in legal terms as the practice of tendering [and accepting] a private advantage for the performance of a duty. This has also been described as the abuse of entrusted power for private benefit and basically entails an official doing, or not doing, something for some sort of gain. Where the levels of corruption are high it is indicative of low levels of respect for the law.
The impact of corruption increases risk of unsafe conditions on both our roads and transport systems. On a grand scale, money intended for maintenance of roads or service provision and the upgrading or provision of facilities is diverted for private gain. On an immediate level, unqualified drivers and unroadworthy vehicles are granted licenses.
This is clearly illustrated by the revelation from the Road Accident Fund that up to an estimated R500 million per annum that could be used to compensate claimants was in fact lost to fraud and corruption. The Road Accident Fund has since invested millions in the fight against fraud and corruption as a management tool.