Mpimpa Hotline


The government and its law enforcement agencies can not effectively solve or address the problem of crime, including road traffic criminal acts, without the active participation of the road users and the general public. To facilitate the implementation of an effective road safety strategy, we need the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders – motorists, taxi/bus owners and drivers, the pedestrians, passengers, etc. Road Safety is everybody’s responsibility. Countries who have a successful road safety record have a saying that road safety is not what you do to people but what you do with people. To garner this joint responsibility an easy to implement tool is required. The use of telephony will enable all stakeholders to effectively take responsibility about road safety issues.

Hence the Mpimpa Hotline. It is a vehicle to effectively drive active stakeholder participation. The anonymity of the caller is guaranteed. Only designated individuals have access to the recorded information. These individuals must sign a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement.

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport has run a campaign with the theme "Road Safety is everybody’s responsibility 24/7/365" (24 hours, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year – around the clock).

The objective was to make all road users aware that, at the end of the day the responsibility to reduce the rate of road collisions should not be borne by the Government alone. In fact what the authorities are trying to do with road safety campaigns is to protect the road users from endangering their own lives. The State spends enormous resources – traffic officers, education campaigns, etc – to protect us from hurting and maiming ourselves.

In the United Kingdom a similar approach to highlighting where the responsibility lies is known as the "Think" campaign. Road users must stop and reflect on why they should refrain from breaking road safety rules.

During the 2002 Festive season the general consensus by commentators about the unacceptably high rates of fatalities was that enforcement is a challenge that needs to be overcome to help improve driver behaviour. The Government alone can never possess enough resources to fully address the enforcement challenge. The general mindset of a road user is to observe the rules when s/he see, expects to see or be seen by a traffic officer.

The Mpimpa Hotline aims to create millions of "volunteer" traffic officers in the form of all road users – the pedestrians, passengers and motorists – to act together in unison and overcome the challenges posted by unbecoming road usage behaviour. Suddenly every bad driver will be conscious of the fact that the changes of being seen have multiplied immensely, because it is every road user’s responsibility (24/7/365) to help stop the carnage on our roads. Every road user has the means to pull bad drivers off the road.

With Mpimpa Hotline, the ordinary road user is now empowered to do something – in line with the Government’s volunteerism request – and help reduce the rate of collisions on our roads. Those who misbehave must know that someone is watching and s/he will take action, because all the law abiding road users are sick and tired of bad drivers.

Why the "Mpimpa" name?

During the struggle days the State (the minority government) used to plant informers among the masses. The sole aims of these "impimpis" (informers) was to gather information about political activities of the oppressed, and feed back to the Government of the day.

In the new South Africa everyone is confronted with a new form of oppression (criminals and general lawlessness) by a new form of an oppressive minority government (the criminals who kills our people in their homes, on the roads and everywhere). The government of the day cannot be omnipresent. It needs the ears and eyes of the oppressed masses to overcome road related serious offences.

The modern day, new South Africa’s "impimpis" are a critical war arsenal to fight the new form of oppression by a minority government by criminals. A minority government by criminals who make life hell for law-abiding citizens on our roads.

A concerned road user calls the Mpimpa Hotline and reports an incident – any serious road offence. Hit and run, overloading, somebody driving without a valid driver’s licence, drive a car without an RWC (roadworthy certificate), taxi wars and the perpetrators, etc. The general public has a facility conducive to creating an environment unfriendly to criminals and their dastardly deeds.

The call is captured and recorded.

  1. The Hotline

The current Hotline – 086 221 1010. The line is paid for in order to discourage crank calls. Research results reveal that over 50% of all calls to the toll free numbers and the emergency police number 10111 are from kids and other adults with objectives other than what the toll free number was set up to achieve. The Hotline will be live for 24 hours per day. The Road Safety Directorate from 07h00 to 16h00 will man the line during normal working days. It will be diverted to the call centre during any other time.

Every call will be recorded for reference purposes.

  1. Database Monitoring and Management
  • Data capture and computer programming. The incoming calls will be captured on the computer using an appropriate program. The program will capture the details – telephone number, postal address, car registration number, generate a reference number, time the call was received, the nature of the offence, place of the offence, etc.
  • Data classification. The nature and seriousness of the offence should be established upfront to automatically determine the nature of the corrective action required. For example, a hit and run incident is a police matter needing drastic action whereas failing to stop at a stop sign is a less serious (misdemeanour) matter which might only require a letter from the Department to make the offender aware the he/she is being watched by fellow road users. The offences will be classified in many ways using letters of the alphabet and numerals.
  • Cross-referencing. This facility will enable the system to monitor the frequency a certain driver and registered car commits serious offences and misdemeanours. Appropriate action should be established in consultation with the appropriate enforcement agencies.
  1. Media Campaign

To build top of mind awareness, a comprehensive campaign to re-launch Mpimpa will break on 9 April to run until 9 may 2003. The main media activities have been planned as follows:

  • Ukhozi FM with over 6.0 million listeners
  • East Coast Radio with around 1.2 million
  • Community Radio stations
  • P4 Radio with around 445 000 listeners
  • 10 mobile billboards strategically placed.

The abovementioned radio stations have been requested to actively support the campaign (value adding) by stimulating debate among their listeners/audiences to sincerely embrace the aims and objectives of reporting wrong doers on our roads.

The solution to a reduced road carnage lies with all road users. Not the Government alone.