Harare City’s pilot project to monitor traffic using closed-circuit television (CCTV) that was started in 2014 seems to be hitting a brick wall as the equipment is now lying idle and no longer in use.
CCTV cameras were installed by a private partner at the intersections of Julius Nyerere Way and Jason Moyo Avenue, as well as on Julius Nyerere and Robert Mugabe Way. At the launch of the pilot project, the City’s Corporate Communications Division had said the new traffic management system was going to increase council’s efficiency in managing traffic flow in the Central Business District (CBD).
“The system allows for more passage time for vehicles coming from a certain direction in the event that there is more traffic in that direction. Videos and pictures of vehicles that shoot through red robots will be taken, with owners receiving instant phone messages (ticket) on the road traffic offence. If the ticket is not paid, the vehicle owner will not be able to renew their vehicle licences,” said council’s Corporate Communications Division.
However, two years down the line, council seems to have abandoned the CCTV project, which was lauded by many as a move in the right direction to achieve a world-class city.
When contacted for a comment, the city’s Acting Corporate Communications Manager, Michael Chideme, refused to comment on the issue saying it was a security matter.
Nonetheless, others still believe the installation of CCTV cameras will enable traffic authorities to deal with the issue of unending congestion, experienced in CBD, especially during peak hours of the day.
Isaac Nhau (27), a motorist from Warren Park, said council should fast-track the installation of CCTVs on the City’s roads.
“Congestion is increasing by the day and I believe the adoption of modern traffic monitoring mechanisms such as CCTV is the answer. We cannot continue relying on old school models such as chasing after traffic offenders,” said Nhau.
Another motorist, Raymond Moyo (34), from Kamfinsa, said CCTVs were important as they have proven to be an effective tool in enforcing traffic regulations in other countries’ cities.
“Other countries in the region and beyond are moving along with technology, while we seem to be moving backwards. It is really embarrassing that our traffic authorities still rely on archaic methods, such as the use of spikes, when there are other cheaper and more effective methods,” noted Moyo.
It seems like a relatively simple thing to do, given that many businesses in the private sector have since adopted CCTVs to monitor cases of thievery by both shop lifters and workers.