/ 31 October 2011

Jo’burg holds out for Outsurance pointsmen

Pointsmen have been pulled from Jo'burg's roads while efforts to put the project under the city's administration continue -- but they'll be back.

Johannesburg’s private pointsmen would not be on duty from Monday while aspects of their services are cleared, the company managing the project said.

“The project is not ending,” said Colleen Bekker, CEO of Traffic Free Flow.

Bekker said the service level agreement with city authorities for the private pointsmen, known by their bright green uniforms and scooters, had ended.

The public-private partnership began in 2005, prompted by severe congestion around the city due to power failures, a sudden increase in vehicle volume and construction projects.

The pointsmen were trained and posted at busy intersections identified by the Johannesburg metro police department (JMPD), Johannesburg Roads Agency, motorists and Talk Radio 702.

But the council now wants the agreement to be put forward for bidding, and wants the pointsmen’s powers to be formalised.

“The project got to such a level of success that [it was necessary] to regularise the powers of the pointsmen and regularise the contract in terms of procurement processes,” said Bekker.

“We have committed to doing so and we certainly are fully in support of the process.”

She said Outsurance intended on remaining as the sponsor of the project.

The ‘grey area’
Pointsmen were initially drawn from CVs submitted to the JMPD. Since then the project’s visibility resulted in people specifically applying for the job.

After training and working on the project, many candidates moved on to formal employment in the JMPD.

Regularising the project meant authorities would receive bids for the contract and a company would be selected to continue it.

The pointsmen would also formally become peace officers.

Currently the pointsmen fell into a “grey area” in terms of the law because there was no provision in legislation for somebody to just direct traffic, Bekker said. — Sapa