'Money more important than Aarto'Comment on this story
The Joburg metro police department is more interested in making money for the Joburg metro and private companies than in following the provisions of Aarto.
This is according to pay-fine company FINES 4U CC, which is taking numerous government departments to court, alleging that traffic fines are being issued illegally.
The company yesterday filed an application in the Johannesburg High Court to force the JMPD to comply with Aarto (Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences) provisions, including one that traffic fines be delivered either personally or through registered mail.
Cornelia van Niekerk said the company was taking various government entities to court, including the JMPD, the road traffic infringement agency (RTIA), the City of Joburg, the Gauteng MEC for community safety, and the ministers of police and transport.
MOTORISTS COULD GET MONEY BACK
If the application is successful, it could mean that motorists who have paid fines issued in the same way would have to have their money – estimated in millions – paid back to them.
It could also mean that roadblocks, where people are forced to pay traffic fines, are brought to a stop.
Van Niekerk said in her founding affidavit that her business offers peace of mind that all vehicles are monitored regularly for outstanding traffic fines, which are then immediately processed by Fines 4U CC.
Van Niekerk said her company was not in the business of avoiding properly issued traffic fines, but if there was any reason to make a representation for an irregularly issued traffic fine, they did so.
The application contends that Aarto allows the JMPD to issue an infringement notice; serve it personally or send it by registered mail to the alleged offender; receive payment of the discounted portion of the penalty provided for in the notice; and where the person who has received the infringement notice claims that another person was the driver of the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence and informs the JMPD of the details of the person, the JMPD must cancel the notice and issue a fresh notice to the newly named person.
The legal papers say the JMPD has no authority to send infringement notices by ordinary mail; to consider representations made to any notice, whether sent as prescribed in Aarto or not; or to respond to any representations or receive payment of any penalty levied in terms of Aarto after a representation has been made.
Van Niekerk said the JMPD was doing all these things and was “acting with impunity beyond the authority conferred upon it by Aarto, and usurping the function conferred by Aarto on the RTIA”.
While FINES 4U CC had in the past applied successfully to the JMPD, the company had found recently that all representations were being turned down.
Van Niekerk had also been told she is not allowed to act as a proxy for companies with fines, which was also against Aarto rules.
“They are not interested in achieving the objectives of Aarto, but simply use it as an income-generating machine for the benefit of the Johannesburg metro and private entities… The administration of the JMPD’s obligations in terms of Aarto is entirely in the privatised hands of Traffic Management Services (Pty) Ltd, Syntell (Pty) Ltd and MVS Phumelelo (Pty) Ltd,” the application says.
“The office at the offices of the JMPD where the first applicants is directed to make representations is not manned by personnel in the employ of the RTIA. Strangely, the notice on the door of this office bears the name of Traffic Management Services (Pty) Ltd.”
Van Niekerk said she was sent to Euodia Botha. Her business card indicates she is the project manager for the JMPD, Traffic Management Services (pty) Ltd, Syntell (Pty) Ltd and MVS Phumelelo (Pty) Ltd.
The papers also allege that the JMPD is not forwarding the representations to the RTIA for consideration. The government departments have a month to respond to the application. -The Star