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You MIGHT Need To Pay Those Fines Before Renewing Your Licence!

Author: Jason Snyman
Date: 2017-08-03
We finally have the answer to the age-old question; do you need to pay fines before renewing your license? The answer might surprise you!
This is certainly one of the most asked questions all over the country. Many people have different answers for you and everyone has a different experience and opinion. But, do you know the answer to this conundrum? Well, we have finally cracked the riddle..... carry on reading!

Types Of Fines And The Havoc They Wreak

Firstly, there are two types of traffic fines. A Section 56 notice of the Criminal Procedure Act is issued by a traffic officer on the spot. This usually involves an offence that happens while the vehicle is moving.  The notice includes a pay date as well as a court date. You have fourteen days to pay your fine or appeal in court on the given date. If you do not appear in court, a warrant for your arrest will be issued. The second is a Section 341 notice, which is issued when the motorist isn’t around. These could be for parking in a loading zone or in a yellow/red demarcated lane. They’re also for expired licence discs, such as the one I found stuck under my windshield wiper, parked right outside the Traffic Department, while I was inside arguing about Proof Of Residence. Real classy, Officer. A section 341 notice is also sent by post for violations caught on traffic camera. You have thirty days to pay this fine before a notice of summons is issued, after which you have a further thirty days to pay before a summons with a court date is sent to you. Now, if you’re living the Mad Max lifestyle and you’ve been issued with a warrant of arrest for not showing up in court, chances are they’ve given you Admin Marks. Admin Marks to your name means you will not be able to renew your car licence, nor your driving licence. Because technically, you’re now an outlaw. Failure to appear in court is seen as being in contempt of court and the Magistrate will want you to appear in court to answer for the contempt of court charge as well as your unpaid violations. So, depending on how many unpaid traffic fines you’ve amassed in your cubbyhole and for how long they’ve been there – chances are pretty good that you’re either due in court or you’ve missed it. And currently in hiding. There is no way to renew a licence disk while there is a warrant for your arrest.
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Some Can, Some Can't

Upon contacting the Motor Vehicle Registration Department – to find out what happens when you have outstanding fines but no arrest warrant yet, a less-than-cheerful lady referred me to the grammatical horror-show that is the Western Cape’s .gov website. After explaining to her that I had already gone through the FAQ’s a hundred times, she finally said; “The system blocks us. It’s not us. The system does this. You have to pay your fines to unblock it.” Not really a helpful answer, then. This doesn't explain why some people have no problem renewing their licence while they have outstanding fines and others are forced to pay up. I finally got hold of a prosecutor at the Municipal Court who explained how it all works. Basically, if you have fresh fines and have not yet been issued with a warrant for your arrest, the system still allows you to renew your licence disc. If you have fines outstanding from a few months ago and you've been taking back roads to work in order to evade roadblocks, the system will show that you you were due to appear in court, did not show up, and may not renew anything at all. It is then your duty as a law-abiding citizen to query this in court and settle your bill.

Is There Any Way Around It?

There are a few options one could try online. Some of them look pretty sketchy, but one of them certainly stands out like a diamond in the dirt. By now you should have heard about FNB’s new expansion on the Nav tool – the Nav Car smart solution. This allows drivers to renew their licence disc by scanning the licence disc barcode with their smartphones. They can then pay for renewal via in-app payments and the new licence disc is delivered right to your door. If you don’t bank with FNB, somebody who does can always renew your licence disc on your behalf. Sounds brilliant, right? I got in touch with FNB nav, Chief Imagineer (CEO), Jolandé Duvenage, and asked if the Nav Car app could block anybody with outstanding fines from renewing their licence disc. She had this to say;
“There are no limitations on the app that would prevent a customer from submitting a new licence renewal request. As per the disclaimer displayed to all customers,  it is advised that, should your record at the local licensing authorities show unpaid traffic fines/ unpaid licence fees for any vehicles registered to you, or an active warrant of arrest issued against you, the licensing authorities may elect to block your license renewal as an enforcement process.  In that instance,  you may have to attend to the renewal personally at your local licensing authority offices. FNB will unfortunately not be able to navigate your licence renewal until all is in order.” Are you needing to contest a fine? Read more here for more information! Read More.

So, In Closing…

If you leave your fines unpaid for long enough, they will finally issue a warrant for your arrest. You can try to dodge them and maybe they'll forget about you after a while. Some people have managed to avoid getting pulled over, but year after year, you still have to renew your licence disc. If your fines are few and new, you won't have any problems... But if your life is a live-action play-by-play of Grand Theft Auto, good luck out there.
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