The Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) has taken another step back in its battle on illegal fines. The Agency had applied to appeal a recent judgment that scrapped thousands of illegal fines. The Gauteng High Court found that all traffic fines issued since 2008 did not comply with the conditions outlined in the AARTO Act.
Friday saw Judge Bill Prinsloo ruling against the application to appeal, stating that he did not see any other court ruling any differently.
This is a major setback for the agency and a win for motorists in Johannesburg and Pretoria who could be facing thousands in illegal fines.
Has It Been A Money Making Scheme?
The fining process has been slammed as a money-making scheme and the agency criticised for its methods. AARTO, RTIA, and traffic law enforcement authorities have been accused of using the system as a means to drive revenue budget instead of as a traffic management system.
Should the AARTO Act have been implemented correctly, and the processes followed, this would not have happened. The agency has now wasted time, resources, and millions of Rands in this endeavour.
What Does This Mean For You?
Authorities will soon be stopped from blocking license renewals and the integrity of AARTO will soon be put on the table.
AARTO has been labelled as a total failure and has been called to be scrapped. Following the whole case, Freedom Front Plus MP, Anton Alberts, has commented that it has simply made the roads more unsafe. With motorists unable to effectively defend themselves, they simply turn to ignoring road rules and make it more dangerous.
“As per the judgement, the public now has every right to challenge authorities refusing to renew vehicle and driver’s licences. This judgment is a win for the people and a sign that active citizenry, when applied effectively, holds authorities accountable for unjust actions,” said OUTA Chairperson Wayne Duvenage.
What Constitutes A Flawed Fine?
The number of illegal fines has not been disclosed. Yet, it is thought to be in the thousands. Johannesburg Metro Police issued 5.3 million traffic fines from 2015 to 2016. Tshwane Metro Police issued 1.1 million in the same period. It is thought that a large percentage of these have been issued illegally.
And, you could be sitting with a few of them!
So, what makes a fine illegal? What do you need to look out for to check if your fine has been issued illegally?
- The notification of the fine was not issued within 40 days of the alleged transgression;
- Notices were not sent by registered post or issued to the alleged transgressor in person;
- Fines referred to the RTIA were not processed;
- Accused transgressors elected to be tried in court, but the cases were not heard speedily;
- Transgressors failed to respond to infringement notices and the RTIA failed to issue a courtesy letter within 64 days;
- Alleged transgressors failed to respond to courtesy letters and the RTIA failed to issue an enforcement order;
- The RTIA failed to process representations; and
- The RTIA was inconsistent in its response to similar representations relating to similar circumstances.