11/12/2006South Africa: Speed Camera Vendor Takes Cops on Cruise
South African speed camera company takes cops on a luxury cruise with free-flowing alcohol during working hours.
Labat Traffic Solutions, a troubled vendor of speed camera equipment, took twenty-eight members of Cape Town, South Africa's Metro police department speed enforcement division on a three-hour cruise in Table Bay on Thursday afternoon. According to invoices, the cruise cost 25,000 Rand (US $3500) with at least one-quarter of that expense going toward alcohol.
Labat holds a five-year contract with the government where it takes a 50 percent cut of the profit from each speed camera ticket it is able to issue plus a 25 percent cut of other traffic fines. The city has began investigating the company and questioning the contract after the courts invalidated over 80,000 speed camera tickets illegally issued by the company since 2004. Labat wants to influence the government so that it does not cut back on its current lavish deal.
"Entertaining clients in the business world is normal practice," a city official told the Weekend Argus newspaper on condition of anonymity. "But it is highly irregular when large amounts are spent on officials by a private contractor that is a service provider -- particularly if such a contractor is dependent on the city for its income."