South Africans have always wondered quietly in the back of their minds whether or not traffic fines are purely a money making scheme for traffic officials. The joke said all over the country “ah, they are out to make their Christmas bonuses”, towards the end of the year when traffic cops are seen more often than taxis on the roads.

traffic police SA

When Citizens Stand Together

Surprisingly not too far off base when the Gauteng high court found that the Road Traffic Infringement Agency and traffic department have been issuing fines based on a money making process to drive their revenue. Should the AARTO have been set in place properly there would not have been a problem. This caused that all fines since 2008 in Johannesburg and Pretoria be deemed unenforceable with the result of a major setback for the department and thousands of motorists having their fines waved. Yay for motorists, not so good for the department. This has yet again proven that when citizens stand together and follow the proper protocols, results can be positive.

In the wake of this endeavour, the AARTO is being investigated and its integrity tested.

“As per the judgement, the public now has every right to challenge authorities refusing to renew vehicle and driver’s licences. This judgment is a win for the people and a sign that active citizenry, when applied effectively, holds authorities accountable for unjust actions,” says the OUTA Chairperson – Wayne Duvenage.
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What does this mean for the motorists on the road?

It’s been seen many times before that when the people of this country find that the law enforcers are in themselves acting unlawfully, that they tend to make a point and ignore the rules of the road entirely. This causing a much larger issue, basically fuelling the fire. It is never smart to take the law into your own hands, or to ignore the law entirely to push the envelope. It makes the roads a dangerous place to be and end in riots and turmoil. Take the issues through the correct channels and the results will be much more favourable. As seen in this case.

What needs to be in place for a fine to be lawfully enforced?

  • The fine needs to be delivered to you in person or by registered mail. If it’s not, it’s not enforceable,
  • The notification HAS to be delivered within 40 days of the incident, anything later than that is not enforceable,
  • If the fine or fines were not referred and processed by the RTIA,
  • If a courtesy letter was not issued by the RTIA after 64 days of sending the notice,
  • If the RTIA did not send enforcement orders.

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If a transgressor wishes to be tried in court there are other protocols that need to be followed and if not followed the fines can also be deemed unlawful.

If your fine was issued based on the fact that you did indeed break the law it is always advisable to pay it. If you feel you were unfairly treated, there are channels you can go through to be heard. This is by no means a way to get out of your fines should you rightfully have to pay them. However, if the law enforcement officers did not issue the said fines in the correct manner and ignored the protocols put in place, that does form basis for having your fines dismissed. Know your rights and what you can do!