Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News-2013-05-22
Johannesburg motorists that have racked up traffic fines can breathe a sigh of relief as drivers won’t be prosecuted for any offence from December 22, and every fine issued since then can be squashed up and chucked into the bin.
The Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) told The Star that it had suspended the posting of all courtesy letters asking for payment. Gary Ronald, Head of Public Affairs at the Automobile Association (AA) said, “In accordance with section 30 (1) of the AARTO Amendment Act 22 of 1999, the act says that any document required to be served on the infringer in terms of this act, must be served on the infringer personally or sent by registered mail to his or her last known address.”
The documents must also serve as reminders that the fine has not been paid and informing motorists that they have lost their 50 percent discount, and have another 32 days to pay.
If for some reason the fine is still not paid, the RTIA must send out a notice of enforcement order – also by registered mail – informing the motorist that this failure to pay will be registered on the eNatis system against the driver’s identity number, and he or she will not be able to do any transactions with any vehicle until the infringement notice is paid.
This should also be the start of the process of issuing a warrant of execution against the motorist’s movable property to recover the money once the National Contravention Register has been fully developed.
But the RTIA has not sent a single courtesy letter since January, meaning that no further action can be taken against motorists. By the agency admitting it is not sending out these courtesy letters means that not only are some 4 500 traffic officers wasting their time every day speed-checking and stopping motorists for other offences, but the City of Joburg is wasting R7.5 million a month in sending fines by registered mail which are seldom collected.
Don’t ignore fines
“The sad thing is that most people have continued to blindly pay their fines that actually have no legal standing. We are not encouraging people to ignore their fines, as you did break the law and should take responsibility for it, but just bear in mind that this form of fine delivery is illegal and can be used as a leverage point”, said Ronald.
Meanwhile another issue plaguing the RTIA is that eNatis is unable to issue warrants of arrest if motorists fail to appear in court, as the software is not yet functional. It does not have the software development to upload the outcome of the case onto the National Contravention Register.
Other problems also indicate the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) system is imploding: in cases where motorists have to appear in court for major offences, such as speed in excess of 40km/h of the speed limit, eNatis can only issue the initials and not the full names of offenders and courts will not accept this, thus striking hundreds of cases off the eNatis court roll daily. – inl