By Elvis Muraranganda
THE Namibian police have admitted that they jumped the gun by installing high-tech speed cameras around the country, which cost taxpayers over N$3 million.
It has emerged that before installing the cameras, the Namibian Police Traffic Department did not seek approval from the Namibian Standards Institution (NSI), which is the body tasked with approving the installation and usage of such devices, according to the country’s quality and certification standards.
It was only after the devices were stationed along the national roads that the police then applied to the NSI to have them approved, standardised and certified.
The cameras are currently installed based on South African standards, the country from which they were acquired.
The police have installed 13 of these cameras nationwide.
The cameras measure the time a driver spends on the road, by capturing the vehicle licence number as it departs from a certain point, and when it arrives at a subsequent camera.
The absence of NSI certification effectively means that any prosecution based on the speed cameras could be challenged in court.
Nampol Head of Traffic, Deputy Commissioner Ralph Ludwig stressed this week that although the cameras had been installed last year, they have not yet been switched on.
“We hope to have them up-and-running by the festive season (late December). We need the camera type approval first and the calibration of the system, so that people cannot take us to court, and we end up losing,” explained Ludwig.
“Those with concerns must ask us, because this is a very big system for the entire country. We will raise awareness, when we are ready.”
Ludwig told Confidente that they spent around N$3 million to acquire the 12 cameras, while one was donated by a consultant.
NSI Metrology Manager, Victor Mundembe, said that it was not procedural for the police to install the cameras, without their approval and certification.
“What if you do not get the type approval to use them? Because then you will not be allowed to use them, but you have already installed them,” Mundembe said.
“The main thing here is that there is a Trade Metrology Act and all measuring instruments are to meet the standard requirements of the Act, which these devices (cameras) are not 100 percent compliant with.
“There are other things, such as verification and certification, which are also outstanding.”
Mundembe said there was a memorandum of understanding in place between the NSI and the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), which allows Namibia to adopt the neighbouring country’s standards, and apply them locally.
“But there are arguments as to the legality of using another country’s standards, as well as their validity, because these devices are not 100 in compliance with our Act.”
Mundembe went on to explain that NSI, as the regulator was working with a technical committee, in a bid to ‘Namibianise’ the South African standards to meet the laws of the country.
National Road Safety Council (NRSC) Chief Executive Officer, Eugene Tendekule, said he was aware that the cameras had been installed by Nampol.
“Our concerns are not in the public domain yet, and I am not comfortable sharing them with you at this stage. If we have issues, we will address them through the correct channels,” he added.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015