The colourful traffic pointsmen who were a common feature of the Johannesburg streets for years and then disappeared will be back soon after the City of Johannesburg undertook to extend the contract of the company which operated the management of congestion in the city.
City manager Ndivhoniswani Lukhwareni confirmed this week it was engaging the service provider of the OUTsurance pointsmen with the intention of extending the contract on a month-to-month basis for a period not exceeding six months.
This while the city wraps up its supply chain management process for the awarding of a new contract. “We would like to sincerely apologise to our residents for the miscommunication regarding this issue and any inconvenience and frustration caused by traffic congestion in their absence,” Lukhwareni said.
Many residents, motorists and the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) had been complaining about unmanned traffic intersections in an around the city since OUTsurance withdrew when its contract expired. Outa said following discussions with the organisation, the city agreed to extend the Freeflow contract until a permanent solution is found with regard to the delay tender. The awarding of the tender to the winning bidder took a long time, with the process expiring on August 31.
OUTsurance could not operate without a contract extension as that would be contravention of the law. Traffic Freeflow operated traffic flow at both Johannesburg and Tshwane and had been providing a free service, although the cost had been borne by OUTsurance.
Lukhwareni said the Joburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) would be increasing its efforts while the contract extension was being finalised. In addition, the city was nearing the finalisation of its competitive bidding process to appoint private partners to enhance traffic management services in the city.
“The City of Johannesburg prides itself on being transparent and accountable. We are committed to informing the public once this process is completed and we humbly request our residents’ patience during this process,” Lukhwareni said.
“It is important to understand that we work within a highly regulated environment and even though this is a free service to the city, due process in terms of our supply chain management policy must be followed,” he said. Michael Holenstein, Outa’s inland regional manager, it received complaints from motorists and their supporters to take up this issue with the city.
“Within a day, the city took action and engaged with us. Although this issue shouldn’t have occurred, we appreciate the way in which the city embraced our requests and acted upon them.
“This sets a good example for how the municipality should act on issues raised by residents, and in a timely fashion,” Holenstein said. According to Holenstein, Outa would engage further with the city regarding broken traffic lights and other concerns regarding the state of Johannesburg’s roads.