If you received any traffic fines in the last nine years, and you haven't paid it yet, there’s a strong chance you won't have to. This is following a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court last Friday.
The ruling indicated that all fines issued since 2008, that did not comply with the conditions outlined in the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act, must be cancelled.
Many Traffic Fines Issued Are Invalid
The court ruled in favour of Fines4U against the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA). This after finding that the RTIA did not comply with the prescribed notification periods, as detailed in the AARTO Act.
As a result, many traffic fines issued, since the act’s implementation, are invalid.
Some traffic fines have already been paid by vehicle owners, to avoid a block on their vehicle and driver’s licence renewals. Fines4U owner, Cornelia van Niekerk, however, said the ruling could affect a large percentage of the millions of fines issued.
From 2015 to 2016 alone, the JMPD issued 5.3 million infringement notices. The Tshwane Metro Police issued 1.1 million in the same time period.
Some traffic fines are still pending. These are recorded against the alleged transgressor on the National Contravention Register (NCR), says Fines4U owner Cornelia van Niekerk.
This ruling comes after Fines4U approached the court on behalf of its client, Audi Johannesburg.
Van Niekerk has called upon the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), who are tasked with administering the AARTO act, to cancel all similarly affected fines without delay.
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RTIA's Failure To Comply
The Road Traffic Infringement Agency did not dispute Fined4U's case. Rather, they blamed the post office for its failure to deliver notices within the given time constraint.
It was, however, found according to an earlier implementation progress report by AARTO that the RTIA is inadequately funded to roll out infringement notice procedures successfully.
Judge Bill Prinsloo rejected the RTIA’s argument that the outcomes of representations did not affect any rights. The matter could only be taken on review when an enforcement letter had been issued. Which was not the case in regard to these matters.
He accepted Fines4U’s argument that the RTIA’s “compliance with the prescribed periods of notification is an obligatory and not a discretionary matter”.
Prinsloo found that the RTIA, “represented by the representation officers, acted beyond their statutorily conferred powers by not following the AARTO process. They offended the constitutional principle of legality”.
As of last week, the RTIA has been ordered to pay Fines4U’s costs.
Tshwane and Johannesburg are the only two cities where the Act has been implemented on a trial basis. And, it has since been plagued with problems.
Tshwane mayor, Solly Msimanga, recently said he was considering withdrawing from the Act.