Drivers who do not pay traffic fines issued personally by the Johannesburg metro police department on the roads will not be able to renew their licences.
This does not apply to outstanding fines sent through the post, which have been accepted by the transport minister not to have been served legally.
JMPD spokesman Wayne Minnaar said only the fines handed out on the side of the road and not paid would affect the renewal and registration of new vehicles. Also, there would be a penalty of one-twelfth of the annual licence fee for every month the fine was not paid.
“At this stage, this does not apply to those sent through the post.”
A war of words over the issuing of traffic fines by the JMPD and Justice Project SA (JPSA) has erupted over the legality of the issuing of fines by ordinary mail.
Minister of transport Dikobe Ben Martins said in a response to questions in Parliament recently that the sending of fines by ordinary mail was not legal.
JMPD director Gerrie Gerneke said drivers would not be able to renew their licences, get new vehicles registered or apply for a licence in a different class if there were unpaid fines.
The JPSA’s Howard Dembovsky rubbished this and said that in terms of section 20 of the Aarto Act, licensing transactions might indeed be blocked on the eNaTIS system, but only if and when an enforcement order is issued by the registrar of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency.
NOT IN COMPLIANCE
“This will happen if an alleged infringer ignores both an infringement notice and a courtesy letter which have both been lawfully served by registered mail in terms of the act. However, infringement notices issued by the JMPD and sent by ordinary mail since June 2010 have never proceeded to the latter stages of the Aarto process, simply because they have not been served in compliance with the act,” he said.
The Johannesburg metro police might, in terms of the Aarto Act, issue infringement notices only - and any subsequent notices must be issued and served by the registrar of the RTIA, he said.
“In the absence of an enforcement order, or, in the case of the Criminal Procedure Act - a warrant of arrest, licensing transactions may not be withheld, and if a licensing authority does so, it would be violating both the Aarto Act and the National Road Traffic Act. The R114 statement of account from a licensing authority quite clearly states as much,” Dembovsky said.
However, the JPSA was warning drivers that infringement notices served by registered mail were indeed lawful and would lead to the subsequent processes under the Aarto Act if they were ignored.
Dembovsky advised drivers that the 50 percent discount period started from the date of service of the infringement notice, not the date of the alleged infringement.
He rubbished claims by Minnaar that no one had been arrested for outstanding Aarto fines.
“The officers at the JMPD roadblocks frequently disallow drivers from continuing on their journey unless they pay their fines,” he said.
The JPSA awaited the Public Protector’s findings to put an end to this “childish debate”.