For about 6 months (or longer) I noticed a lonely ca. 4m high mast equipped with a camera and small satellite dish, placed at the t-junction of Tradouw Pass, Suurbraak and Heidelberg. Looking at it every time passing by, I thought of or assumed it to be some form of farm watch or friendly neighbourhood surveillance put up by some locals.
Yesterday, travelling to Swellendam, a young man was up on his ladder working on the installation,
I turned around, got out of my conveyance, greeted and asked him about the device. Turns out it’s not your friendly farm or neighbourhood watch, but rather nationwide monitoring and recognition of number plates courtesy of RTMC in collaboration with provincial government. Needless to say I was a little surprised, especially after Mike (name changed) informed me that there are plenty more of them in Suurbraak, Swellendam and Heidelberg; for those who don’t know this back road, it’s not exactly busy, the road to Heidelberg is gravel half the distance, there are probably more tourists going through the pass than locals… Mike’s explanations was that this is a conservation area and the installations are to protect the fauna, assuming to bust potential plant poachers ? Honestly, I wouldn’t know what to poach here and if I was, I’d be coming at night when the cameras might not pick up your plate or you can just cover it…
Apparently the collected data via camera will feed into the Cape Town based system, only activated yesterday, nice, now they get to see me more often, every time I visit Suurbraak and Swellendam.
I was quick to explain to Mike the nature of the RTMC, its corporate structure and connection to RSA (Pty) ltd, the national debt, the desperate measures to reduce or maintain it and thus the reason why we started RGH. He was very excited to hear all about it and couldn’t wait to find out more about RGH.