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JMPD violating Road Traffic Act - claim

2011-12-20 20:44

Johannesburg -  The Johannesburg metro police department (JMPD) was accused on Tuesday of violating the Road Traffic Act by sending infringement notices to offenders through standard permit mail.

But the road traffic management corporation (RTMC) has insisted the JMPD was abiding by the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (Aarto).

Justice Project SA chairperson Howard Dembovsky told reporters on Tuesday: "The notices are normally sent by registered mail, but JMPD management started sending them on standard permit mail on June 1 last year, saying it saved them R15 per mail item."

Dembovsky described the practice as corrupt and said it was a violation of Aarto.

"Up to eight million notices were sent to traffic offenders for 18 months," he said in Roodepoort. 

R1.1bn

"The department had in return generated more than R1.1bn after traffic offenders paid the fines."

The infringement notices covered a variety of offences, especially speeding, in which drivers were captured on camera.

Dembovsky said the JMPD only started using registered mail again in January this year, after the acting registrar of the road traffic infringement agency, Japh Chuwe, wrote to JMPD chief Chris Ngcobo requesting them to do so.

Dembovsky said his organisation had also sent a complaint to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, asking her to probe the department.

"We have received dozens of reports from the people who complained about the high level of corruption that exists within the JMPD," Dembovsky said.

"I can assure the public that we are tackling this corruption head-on and it will soon be a thing of the past."

Ashref Ismail of the RTMC said: "The whole JMPD has been operating under the Aarto Act since 2009, but I do not know if they have been issuing infringement notices by standard permit or registered mail."

Ismail declined to comment on the graft accusations.

"I cannot comment on the other claims of corruption made by the Justice Project South Africa against JMPD," he said.

Waiting for government response

JMPD spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said metro police used to send fines by registered mail, but nobody collected them from the Post Office as they didn't know what they were getting.

Metro police then applied to national government to send fines by regular mail. They were, however, still waiting for a response.

According to Section 30 of the Aarto Act 46, of 1998: "Any document required to be served on an infringer in terms of this Act must be served personally or by registered mail, and it is regarded to have been served on the date the infringer has signed for the receipt of the document."

Minnaar, however, responded by saying that the act did not prohibit other attempts by metro police to send fines to people.

"The focus is to inform motorists. Previously no one responded [to the registered mail]. Now a huge percentage are paying.

"Aarto is a pilot project, so we are at liberty to try a message which will work in favour of the community."

The Aarto Amendment Act 22 of 1999 does away with the need for a traffic offender to sign for the letter for him or her to have been considered served with the notice.

Instead the fine is regarded to have been served 10 days after the date stamped on the receipt by the Post Office which accepted the document for registration.

Comments
  • Jonathon - 2011-12-20 20:58

    I just recieved a fine through unregistered mail. Been getting it that way for months. The guys are so corrupt.

      Francois - 2011-12-20 21:15

      Jonathon, did you break the traffice rules? If you did, pay up otherwise you are equally corrupt. If not, sue them, you can take my paid fines along for a class action.

      Squeegee - 2011-12-20 22:04

      Refuse to pay and when they stop you you'll be sent to jail by surface mail.

      John - 2011-12-21 00:17

      Blue Light Brigade Strikes Again! Friday, 09 of December, cars on the highway from Durban gave way to a political convoy with blue lights. Remembering 1 man killed by the Blue Light Brigade in Durban, and another in Jo'burg, I protested those murders and raised my finger as they drove past. They proceeded to block me and lunge their cars at me, as I swerved, slowed and pulled away. I held strong and steadfast in my protest! My family, however, were badly shaken. It is time that the ANC realizes that they are not above criticism and rejection, and also NOT ABOVE THE LAW! I expected them to zap me back, or even lay misdemeanor charges against me. But the public harassment and bullying shows that these mentals are in a mindset of their own. They need to be transferred to Antarctica!

  • TrueTenacity - 2011-12-20 21:07

    Every single fine I have gotten for the past 2+ years has been posted regular surface mail... thereby making them invalid... according to their own AARTO code of practise they need to be able to prove you got it for it to count, and since the post office loses soo much mail already, unless it's registered there's no proof I go it...

      eddiebant - 2011-12-20 21:28

      The problems you'll get at a roadblock if they check for outstanding fines, are definitely not worthwhile.,

      Francois - 2011-12-20 22:18

      TrueTenacity, did you break the traffice rules? If you did, pay up otherwise you are equally corrupt. If not, sue them, you can take my paid fines along for a class action.

      chris.faurie - 2011-12-21 09:49

      Aarto is administrating the collecting of fines for the authorities. What is their cut and it this the reason you can not pay at the authoroties?

  • Adam R. M. Levin - 2011-12-20 21:24

    The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act is clear: infringement notices must be sent by registered mail. Period. JMPD knows this and they will quash a fine if you make a representation saying that the notice was sent incorrectly. If JMPD expects me to obey the law, then I expect the same of them. Representations are made on form AARTO 08, which can be downloaded from www.aartosa.co.za or www.aarto.co.za. I've had over R2500 in fines quashed this way.

  • Howard - 2011-12-20 21:50

    Read the FULL story at www.jp-sa.org/JMPDaarto.asp. Not only has the JMPD been acting unlawfully for more than 18 months, but they have also ignored a LAWFUL instruction from the Acting Registrar of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) sent to them more than 11 months ago. That IS a criminal act, no matter what the liars at the JMPD and RTMC have to say! I especially "liked" Ashref Ismail's lie, given that he has intimate knowledge of how the JMPD have acted unlawfully. Francois, if anyone has broken the law then yes, they must own up to it. The law enforcement agencies INCLUDED. Do not accuse anyone of being "corrupt" when a corrupt agency breaks the law in order to enforce it. When I say someone is corrupt, I first have all of my facts in place. You should too.

      Sean - 2012-04-23 15:33

      Received an AARTO notice from JMPD via normal mail last week.

  • makesuthink - 2011-12-21 06:50

    I received a notice of a fine is the post two weeks ago in which it stated that there is 50% discount if paid within 32days of the date on the notice. Guess what no date on the notice and no date of postage either. so when does the count start? When I contacted AARTO I was told that I have 88 days from the date of the "offence" to pay. I know for a fact that one has to receive notification within 30 days of the offence. Has anyone taken notice of the section on the registration form where it says where notices must be sent. If postal address is marked notices can only be sent there.

  • godrich.gardee - 2011-12-21 06:58

    Thisis not factual in law. JPSA is seeking undue attention. The know well the case of Commercial Union v Clarke where the court held that sending of a correspondence by ordinary mail instead of a registered mail is not material to constitute a concern as there is material and substantial compliance with the purpose of the act. JPSA is dragging the country to the old textualist approach in interpretation of legislation. If they have lawyers, the may as well look at the case of Ex parte Dow where textualist approach of peremptory provision was deemed directory.

      Shirley - 2011-12-21 07:36

      Godrich I hope you're not acting as someone's attorney because oh hell will you be leading them down the garden path. From your incoherent ramble I gather that you think that the Commercial Union v Clarke case serves as a solid precedent whereas it is probably the most inappropriate case to quote in this regard. You fail to consider the fact that the JMPD actions are required to be judged against the regulations that PRESCRIBE what is required. Now that is a pretty big fail so you would have had your case tossed out of court without a second thought. So please do us all a favour - don't pretend to know what you are talking about when you clearly don't!

      Burtfred - 2011-12-21 07:41

      The precedent that you quoted - Commercial Union v Clarke, was set in 1972, when we still had a Post Office that worked very well. It would now not be too difficult to prove that correspondence was not received when sent by ordinary mail through our corrupt and inept Post Office. There is a reason why registered mail was made a requirement by AARTO. It is because it was recognized that the PO is not what it should be. Neither, for that matter, is the JMPD anything close to what it should be.

  • thabo.tebele - 2011-12-21 08:40

    If they stop you and tell you to pay-up Just pay the fine I tried to use that section 30 (1) of the Aarto Act BUT the dump traffic officer had no idea what that was and I was almost locked me up. I paid then continued with my trip . They said I was trying to be clever with and they will lock you up for that. They have no idea how the law & acts works. All this law is good on paper but does not apply in real life and most of those fines which were on the system I never received them in my mail system even though they claim they send them by post and I must have received them and I should pay or get locked up.Just like most of you I only receive my fines with unregistered mail.Never with a registered mail.

      saintbruce.bruce - 2012-10-18 08:55

      The Traffic cops cannot lock you up for traffic fines you did not have legally delivered to you under the act. They can issue a copy printed at the roadside and you STILL have 32 days to pay and get your 50% discount. If you hand over money at the roadside, where do you think it went? Remember - fines issued outside of Tshwane or Johannesburg are under the Criminal Procedures Act - don't mess with that one - it has real teeth! I wonder if we have a clause in the Post Office Act where soliciting money via the postal system is a criminal offence? In most civilised countries to commit mail fraud is a very serious offence. If yes, then the head of JMPD needs to be prosecuted for fraud. www.aarto.co.za Aarto facts - very informative.

  • chris.faurie - 2011-12-21 09:41

    I received a fine through standard mail. Trying to pay the fine was unsuccessful as the bank account no on the documentation was one digit short, the Post Office, nor chain stores wanted no part of it, I phoned JMPD (the fine was in Johannesburg Area)and was referred to Pretoria. I went to Aarto's websites, www.aartosa.co.za , www.aarto.gov.za , www.aarto.co.za and got conflicting information. Due to being unable to pay (a small amount, but nevertheless), I stopped wasting my time.

  • jim.dickson2 - 2012-03-07 10:03

    I would like to know why the date of issue is not clearly marked on these fines as the inevitably arrive about two months after the infringement. The date and time of the offence is there but no date of issue. As I understand, the fine must be issued within thirty days of the offence to be legal. But with no issue date.............

  • willie.dewitt - 2012-03-16 16:59

    The traffic department should do away with the camara system as unless the photo shows proof of you being in the vehicle driving it how can they prove in court that you are guilty of this offence beyound any doubt. There are so many people with same vehicles duplicating the number plates and using it on their vehicles. If one is stopped at the time of the infringement there would be a clear cut case who the offender was and less problems with the legalities of how this matter needs to be implimented. How easy do you want it "go back to Basics" One does not need any brains to figure this out.

  • diapapas - 2012-03-31 14:36

    JMPD are just criminals they mount their cameras at N1 and when the ticket come it will say malibongwe or william nicol as they know that National road is not their responsibilities or juristriction.....

  • quartus.vanzyl - 2012-10-18 07:19

    So while these idiots are waiting for a response from government they simple take the law in their own hands and send these notices by ordinary mail? The people are stupid to respond to these illegal notices!!

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