A Gauteng motorist was shocked when he opened his post and found he was being charged R400 000 after he had complained about many traffic fines.

It turns out Wayne Evans is not the only motorist in Gauteng who will receive an outrageous penalty bill: 50 000 motorists will open their post and see grossly inflated figures that they have to pay in 32 days.

Evans said he visited a pay fine website and discovered that he had numerous unpaid fines.

He contacted the Joburg metro police department (JMPD) to complain and, a few weeks later, received the R400 000 fine.

“I nearly died,” said Evans. “I was in turmoil all night.”

He went to the JMPD offices on Wednesday and spoke to a prosecutor, who told him that the fine was a mistake – the system indicated that he owed R4 000.

“They told me there was a mistake with the decimals and that even if I go to court, the R4 000 worth of fines won’t go away, so I must just pay them.”

Wendy Alberts, Restaurant Association of SA CEO, received a notice from the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (Aarto) telling her to send proof that she had paid three fines.

She was later sent a letter informing her that she had to pay a penalty of R50 000 in 32 days.

Howard Dembovsky, from the Justice Project SA, said he had learnt that 50 000 representations had been rejected in the past month and said this was causing “widespread panic and disbelief”.

The Road Traffic Infringement Agency deputy registrar, Sherman Amos, said a computer software upgrade that printed the amounts in cents instead of rands caused the problem.

He said the affected motorists should pay their fines at a JMPD office because the system would show the correct amount.

The Star