Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Johannesburg - After a pay-fine company took the Joburg metro police to court for allegedly failing to comply with the Aarto Act, the JMPD “illegally” cancelled five of the company’s fines in a bid to avoid the court action.

This is the allegation made by Fines 4 U, which specialises in the legal reduction of traffic fines.

It was made in a replying affidavit to the JMPD (Joburg metro police department) and the City of Joburg.

FINES 4 U took several government departments to court last year.

It alleged that traffic fines were being issued illegally in Joburg.

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 paid back, leaving the council short of millions of rand.

Cornelia van Niekerk, from FINES 4 U, sent out legal notices to the JMPD, the road traffic infringement agency (RTIA) and the council.

She asked the respondents to comply with provisions of Aarto and for traffic fines to be delivered either personally or by registered mail.

Aarto (the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences) is a centralised system that attempts to place infringements in one place and encourage compliance by motorists.

Van Niekerk’s attorney, Anton Burger, of Burger Attorneys, said Van Niekerk had fines that could not be finalised because the JMPD refused all representations, even though this was under the jurisdiction of the RTIA, according to Aarto.

Pieter Machiel de Klerk, the deputy director of community legal services at the City of Joburg, answered the original application made by FINES 4 U.

He said the applicant did not seek any relief extending beyond five infringement notices. This relief was that they comply with the Aarto act.

De Klerk said the relief sought by the applicants was “moot and incompetent” because all five infringement notices had been cancelled.

The answering affidavit states that Van Niekerk submitted representation for the five fines.

The JMPD delivered the notices to the RTIA and they were cancelled.

“There is no live issue between the parties requiring adjudication by this court. All of the relief sought is moot,” the answering affidavit reads.

De Klerk also denies the applicants’ claim that the JMPD uses Aarto as an “income-generating machine”.

“It is not correct that the third respondent’s enforcement of the Aarto Act is a profit- driven machine run by private enterprise.

“Though some of the functions of enforcement are outsourced to private contractors, these contractors perform their duties on terms dictated by the City of Johannesburg in their respective contracts and service-level agreements.”

The papers say contractors are paid a fee per infringement notice processed, irrespective of the potential fine income emanating from the notice.

FINES 4 U said they believed that, by cancelling the fines, the JMPD demonstrated that they were irregular in the first place.

FINES 4 U also expressed shock that private companies were paid per infringement processed, proving that fines were being sent out “for the benefit of profit”, according to papers in the Johannesburg High Court.

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The Star