Like hi. Missed me? Apparently a few of you have. 2018 started out heel rustig, and truth be told, there isn’t much to write home about. Everyone is still getting into the swing of things and for some reason there isn’t much on the February calendar.
These days, I try to accept things for what they are (my therapist says that helps with inner peace and stuff) and ranting is sooo last year. However, there is a little problem that needs addressing. I’ve pondered over the topic for some time, as it has been discussed many times before by me and fellow journalists and motoring enthusiasts. It is a huge topic on social media and in the custom car scene, and I believe that it is of concern to many. COPS.
As spectators left Streetfest last year, the biggest event of 2017 held at Killarney Racetrack, many were pulled over at a roadblock outside the facility, and some people had their license discs removed for having unroadworthy vehicles. Sorry, what? Is a roadblock a roadworthy station now? Are traffic official’s roadworthy inspectors? I know quite a few traffic officials and not one of them have any technical or mechanical knowledge of cars. I speak under correction, but one must also qualify has a roadworthy inspector, not? If this was a once off occurrence due to the festive season, I wouldn’t be complaining, but this happens at almost every event. The City implemented Robot Racing to get street racers off the streets, but when they attend a legal event at the track, they get targeted and license discs get removed. This is a problem that has been coming on for some time, and each time the City responds with denials of targeting modified cars. Initially, they tried to curb illegal racing by clamping down on modified cars, as if every single modified car out there races illegally. It is sad that people should be painted with the same brush, actually no, it isn’t sad, it is downright stupid, and the authorities have no idea how to deal with the situation. Ideally, they had to sit down with everyone involved to reach an acceptable agreement, instead of making autocratic rules that don’t make sense to people in the know. Contrary to popular belief, there are many intelligent, professional people in our industry, we are not actors in a Fast n Furious movie, and the industry is a far cry from that public perception
Personally, it is my opinion that initially the City was trying to deal with the very real problem of street racing, but the whole targeting of modified cars proved to be a real cash cow, and the emphasis is now on “vehicle safety” rather than street racing. I can assure you, the vast majority of modified vehicles are safer than many other cars on the roads, let alone taxis. Unroadworthy, illegal taxis with no operating license driven by unlicensed taxi drivers with overloaded vans are a far bigger problem than street racing, and take far more lives. Yet they do not get the same treatment as law-abiding citizens with custom cars. Why is that? The only reason I can come up with, is that people obey the law are far easier targets.
Don’t misunderstand me, people who race on the streets should be punished and be held accountable, but you can’t discriminate and intimidate someone just because he has a car that has a few mods, which someone with no knowledge deems to be unsafe. Even if it is unsafe, how can the license disc be removed, when an unsafe vehicle that looks “normal” gets overlooked in the very same roadblock?
The authorities will once again say they know what is best; that they are managing the situation as best possible from research which was done, quote a few by-laws, and deny that modified car owners are being targeted. I am, with many others, of the opinion that there is no doubt that car enthusiasts are being targeted. Recently in Sea Point, at a quiet informal park off, cops were harassing and removing discs of cars which, in my educated opinion, wasn’t unroadworthy. The whole situation was even mentioned by blogger Matt Robinson, on the internationally popular Car Throttle website. He was visiting our shores to check out the Cape car culture and saw first-hand what had transpired. It was a quiet “chill” session, where car enthusiasts congregated to show off their rides, as has been done for years. Yet if the same gatherings happen in less affluent areas, it doesn’t seem to be a problem. I’ve seen reports on social media, with videos, of traffic officials blatantly abusing their power, and fining people for minor offenses. I’ve seen video footage of a lady who was pulled over for a brake light that wasn’t working, but when she showed the official it was in fact working, he told her to not get clever with him and threatened her with arrest. I know of someone who was in the traffic department’s parking area, waiting to park, and when he answered his phone, while stationary, was given a fine. Discretion has gone out the window, and victimisation is favoured. People are gatvol though, and it isn’t hard to see that things can get out of hand again, with people returning to illegal racing to get away from being targeted at legal race meets. So the question is, does the City really want a solution to curb street racing? I say “curb” as street racing has been around all over the world since forever, and will never completely die out, but with Robot Racing, there is a definite decline in illegal racing, but then license discs are removed after events. That driver must then take off work to get his car to a roadworthy station, where he has to pay exorbitant fees, and fees to get his car “safe”(even though it was safe in the first place), all because he went to see legal racing at a legal event. It makes no sense. What does make sense though is that the City is benefiting financially, yet claims to not have resources to deploy to illegal racing hot spots, where people should be arrested. And here we have to pay up, our only crime being owners of sexy cars that sound great.
Yassis, as 2018 eers so begin.
*all images taken from the web, & are used for visual purpose only.*