Reports that the SA Local Government Association has blamed new legislation for losses in traffic fines highlight the corrupt nature of law enforcement in South Africa, the Justice Project SA said on Tuesday.
The Star reported recently that Johannesburg had lost R150 million and Tshwane R40 million in traffic fine income, as a result of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act.
Municipalities represented by Salga had come to believe that traffic law enforcement was about making money rather than ensuring road safety, JPSA said.
The shortfall of R208 million, against a budgeted figure of R400 million for income from traffic fines from Johannesburg metro police had led to calls for the Aarto Act to be scrapped.
However, few infringement notices issued by JMPD were issued on the eNaTiS traffic system.
This provided a courtesy letter and later an enforcement order. Most infringement notices were issued on the JMPD's own system, and so were not associated with the Aarto fine collection process.
All revenue from fines issued on the JMPD's own system went directly to the JMPD, although 50 percent of the value was payable to the issuing authority.
In addition, the JMPD sent most infringement notices by ordinary mail, although Aarto required notices to be served in person or by registered mail.
“People have no doubt become wise to the unlawful behaviour of the JMPD over the past two years, and have realised that since the JMPD cannot prove that they have lawfully served infringement notices on them, nothing can or will happen if they simply ignore them,” said JPSA.
The Aarto Act conflicted with municipal agendas, as a demerit system would diminish the pool of motorists, with some being removed from the roads.
“Logically, should traffic law enforcement be successful in achieving greater compliance with traffic laws, this would greatly damage the bottom line of the municipalities.”
Road fatalities cost the fiscus R40 billion a year, while the cost to the economy was more than R200 billion a year. - Sapa