By on November 26, 2007

car-accident.jpgResponding to mounting calls for action to stem South Africa's horrific road carnage, the government has decided to crack down on motorists who fail to pay their fines. The Times reports that only 20 percent of the Republic's 180k motorists fined each month pay their penalty. The government will now go all out to get the money: blacklisting miscreants' credit, seizing scofflaws' "movable" assets after 30 days and/or suspending their license. The Republic of South Africa (RSA) will also spend R72m to computerize collection, including hand-held computers. Transport Department Spokesperson Collen Msibi– last seen denying reports that 80 percent of RSA's vehicles were unsafe to drive and promising a crackdown against testing station corruption— justified the move as necessary to road safety. “Habitual offenders make our roads unsafe and they need to start complying with the rules. This is why such harsh measures were considered." While cynical observers might see the move as a simple cash grab (that opens the floodgates to yet more corruption), this may be an example where government greed and public interest intersect. Given that the RSA has the world's second worst road safety record (after Botswana), something is better than nothing. 

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