Illegal for cops to confiscate licences

2011-12-28 14:33

Johannesburg - There is no legal basis for traffic police to confiscate the licences of traffic offenders on the spot, Justice Project SA said on Wednesday.

"There is no provision in the Transport Act or legislation for traffic police to confiscate licences. It is not within the law," the organisation's chairperson Howard Dembovsky said.

"I am not saying licences should not be confiscated or suspended for serious offences, there is a way to do so."

He said only the courts may revoke a licence.

Seizing licences

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said on Tuesday: "Drivers arrested for any offence must have their driving licences seized as well as suspended and/or cancelled."

He was reacting to the 900-plus road death toll so far in December.

His spokesperson Logan Maistry on Wednesday said seizing of licences needed to be done by a court of law. He said the minister was calling for harsher action against traffic law offenders.

"We cannot do anything without legal basis," said Maistry, adding that the suspension or cancellation of driving licences in South Africa was not new.

"The National Road Traffic Act is clear regarding this matter, and currently grants powers to the courts as well as to the provincial transport MECs to cancel or suspend driving licences."

Since October 2010, as part of the new national rolling enforcement plan, several motorists had been sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine, and also had their licences suspended or cancelled, for offences including drinking and driving, reckless and/or negligent driving and speeding.

Disregard for traffic laws

Dembovsky said confiscating licences at the roadside would amount to theft and exposed the minister to criminal charges. It would also open traffic police to corruption. "The minister might have been emotional when he made this call."

Reacting to crashes during the Christmas weekend, Ndebele said these were usually not accidents.

"They are normally caused through blatant disregard for traffic laws, which include overloading, drunk driving, speeding and unsafe overtaking, amongst others."

He said in conjunction with the ministries of police, justice and the National Prosecuting Authority, they would continue to ensure they were more aggressive in dealing with irresponsible drivers.

  • Beetroot - 2011-12-28 14:40

    take their cars too! I want to see where the 50 000 taxis will be impounded?

      Beetroot - 2011-12-28 14:41

      or is it 500 000........

      Anthony - 2011-12-28 15:12

      yes and its also illegal for them to take bribes

  • Ettienne - 2011-12-28 14:55

    Clearly they have missed the plot. Do they really think that by seizing a license they have achieved something? How many motorists are not driving WITHOUT licences? This has had no effect? Wake up Minister and start enforcing the NRTA properly, not just making up your mind when what will be done. Interesting, I drove back from Mossel Bay yesterday, and amazed to see how many traffic vehicles standing next to the road, and the officers inside doing absolutely nothing. Do more stringent roadside checks, pulling vehicles off randomly. Enforce MOVING VIOLATIONS and see how much more effective your plans may be.

      Kevin - 2011-12-28 16:48

      Vehicle checks achieve very little, but enforcing moving violations will help.

      Nicholas - 2011-12-29 11:03

      I always wonder what new nonsense Sibusiso Ndebele will come up with over Christmas time regarding the roads. Its the only time we hear from him (its called politicking). A few years ago it was confiscating peoples cars which also fell flat because that too is illegal. Why not just enforce the law all year round with a zero tolerance approach, after all, it is during the year that the death rate on the roads is at its highest and not over Christmas as we are always lead to believe. Ndebele, I can't wait to hear what "shock tactic" you will be coming up with next year!

  • Wesley - 2011-12-28 15:05

    I don't know what the fuzz is about, the people are driving exactly like there blue light holigans. Drive by example

      Kevin - 2011-12-28 16:50

      You spell fuss as I have and hooligans as I have.

  • Johan - 2011-12-28 15:12

    Well Well what is new just a well educated man with degrees from Soweto Crime College in a job that he is not fit for Hello Hello South Africa the world is looking What a big fat small house one getting paid for talking Bull

  • Erich - 2011-12-28 15:15

    This is a good example where the arrogance of a politician who thinks the position he is occupying gives him unlimited powers to make and brake as he pleases. Minister Ndebele, your are getting a big salary and other perks. The least you can do is to acquaint yourself with the laws your Department administer or consult your legal advisers before making a fool of yourself. We all agree that there are motorists who should not be allowed behind the steering wheel of a vehicle but do it the right way. Nothing precludes you from taking these cases to court and have the prosecutors lodging applications for the suspension of their driving licences. Further, you should realise by now that there is an unacceptable high percentage of corrupt traffic officers and this illusion de grandeur of you will no doubt tempt more officers to take bribes. Cappice?

  • Edwin Netto - 2011-12-28 15:24

    Shouldn't the leaders set an example, so Mr Minister of Transport talk to your colleagues who speed and go through red trafic lights, if they can do it why can't the public!" Do as I say not as I do" policy never works!

  • oclee62 - 2011-12-28 15:27

    Change the law. 1st offence = loose your vehicle for 30 days. 2nd offence = 60 days, 3nd offence the vehicle get confiscated and send to the wreckers -- you wacth while your vehicle is changes in a nice square metal cube. It is working in a few other countries.

      Kopraal SilverStar Mohloli - 2011-12-28 16:00

      And then I buy another car and start counting from the 1st offence? Besides, in most cases, the car aint urs, its the banks, they will have to deal with the bank, the whole of SA will be blacklisted cz no one will be willing to pay for a car they don't have just bcz the drove 130 in a 120 zone....irresponsible drivers must have their licences confiscated and suspended for 10 years (blacklist them in short), but then again, knowing SA's disregard for the law, they will still drive without them anyways!

      Ivan - 2011-12-28 16:01

      Yes it works in a few other countries but then so does their public transport. You cant take a method of transport away and not have something in place to supply SAFE transport

      Johan - 2011-12-28 16:57

      It is clear that there is more than one small house here When you buy a car and get finance by the bank the bank did not buy the car you did your fool . to loose your licence like some have in mind they don't even know what drives the economic of the land shame it is hard to be stupid

      makesuthink - 2011-12-29 09:23

      @ Johan Evidently you do not know that when a car is sold through a bank the natis document shows the bank as the Title Holder and the driver as the owner BUT the Title holder is the actual owner of the car until it is fully paid for. Then the driver can obtain the natis document from the bank and register himself as both title holder and owner. So Johan who is the fool YOU Oh just by the way I am in the motor industry

      Ruben - 2011-12-29 10:10

      Seriously, the car is not the problem it's the driver. It's a nazi government mentality that takes such draconian steps against it's citizenry. Revoke the licence, imprison the driver where appropriate, award compensation as necessary.

  • Larry - 2011-12-28 15:49

    Its also illegal for Cops to demand bribes, but that happens too often as well. This gives them another weapon to extract more bribes.

      Kevin - 2011-12-28 16:54

      Larry many years ago a traffic officer/police officer in Italy asked me for a bribe and I refused and went to jail. Its an experience you dont want but I was young and stubborn, but it takes balls.

  • AyGeewils - 2011-12-28 15:57

    Is this not typical of a Dictatorial mentality - He's the boss he can do as he pleases. Not he will see to the amendment of the laws - no, licences will be confiscated, cancelled and you will be flogged over the bonnet of your car. (Taxis don't have bonnets ... oh well.)

  • phillip.havenga - 2011-12-28 16:16

    Does this stupid little man actually have any clue about the law?

      Kevin - 2011-12-28 16:54

      No and doesn't much care!

  • masiela.Rudluv - 2011-12-28 16:18

    wow so u can bend all the road traffic rules and still not have ur license confiscated....i dont knw what to call our government

      Henri James Christie - 2011-12-28 19:03

      I do, but News 24 wouldn't allow it so let's settle on ...... self centred thieves

  • Johan - 2011-12-28 16:21

    I live in the West Coast and what a difference to the rest of the country, no cops sleeping under trees always paraat and doing their job as it should be done. No unroadworthy vehicles on our roads. We get pulled over for inspections at least twice a week for a full checkup - licence tyres lights ect. I don't mind at all. Guess who is in charge in the Western Cape ???????

      rowan.maulson - 2011-12-28 18:49

      I'd get the moer in if I was pulled over that often for a "random" check... I want a functioning police force, but not one that actually starts interfering in my life... Yes Pull me over if my car looks like it could be unroadworthy.... but hell not all the time just for a random check.

  • mashandu - 2011-12-28 16:23

    u canot xpect thieves to take our licencies because damn they wont do it but they are going to rob motorists of thier money

  • raymond.kok3 - 2011-12-28 16:23


      Kevin - 2011-12-28 16:56

      Let it happen then sue the idiot Minister and his spokesman for inciting an officer to break the law.

  • comurray - 2011-12-28 17:03

    It is all very well to tell us it is illegal to take our licences however have the cops been informed as well or does it enable them to take hundreds of rand in bribes so as not to conficate our driver's licences??????

  • Ruan - 2011-12-28 19:32

    Dear Minister and spokesperson for your dept.............make insurance compulsory FOR EVERYBODY, introduce DIGITAL tachograph cards for prof. drivers, make CPC ( LOCAL PDP ) compulsary....EVERY YEAR !!

  • Shaun - 2011-12-28 21:18

    I knew both Beki Cele and Spu Ndebele years ago when I worked in the insurance industry, insuring taxi. Both of them are total idiots! Some actual law enforcement would do wonders for SA, but it won't happen.

  • braamc - 2011-12-29 06:08

    You probably find that the bribes are not enough and secondly to complete a form (fine) is very hard for most of them can't even spell, so let us take your license -eish

      Jannie - 2011-12-29 08:18

      You joke! I had to fill out my own fines! some of them cant spell or write!

  • Andrew - 2011-12-29 06:30

    Well the minister S Ndebele was mis-quoted when he said licences should be seized, what he meant the law should follow due process and licences cancelled by the courts. What did he expect when he makes such an outlandish statement? The ordinary mis-informed traffic cop is going to do as he was told by the minister, after all he is the Transport Supremo.What next minister?

  • PaasHaas - 2011-12-29 07:33

    Anyone who feels that his ministerial position entitles him to don the uniform of a senior traffic official with all the bling is a clown with no clue of the law.

  • Jannie - 2011-12-29 08:14

    how am i going to explain the law to some 2bit cop when he tries to take my license because my cracked windscreen wiper in his mind is reckless??? Sibu you are a MORON

  • George - 2011-12-29 08:25

    This is a powerful statement Mr Ndebele. Are you including the so called blue light brigade of the elite when they are in transit. These idiots are the ones that drive in the yellow lane , make serious accidents , pull guns on motorists when they do not move over , etc. What about the kid that was knocked over and almost killed. Show me where he is charged or his licence confisticated. or is it a case of he is pardoned from having a legitimate licence because he ferries the elite. There is a kid that needs to start his life over in Rehab , having brain damage , and you have the audacity to talk such crap. No wonder the cops are so corrupt because you were the one that received a new Mercedes Benz from a contractor that was awarded tenders by your department. Why don't you stand up for what is right , leave all the crappy talk and the nice cars , get integrity and self worth.Then we will have cops that is worth the uniform and less accidents because they know how to enforce the law and that includes pulling over the elite when they break the law and arrest them on the spot. No good trying to take the licences because the do not have any.

  • Comrade - 2011-12-29 09:38

    how much will the bribe be to have your licence returned!

      thokozam - 2011-12-29 14:02

      If you did not done any thing wrong you won't pay a bribe and you will have your licence.

  • Gail - 2011-12-29 11:09

    In England recently someone I know was recently pulled off the road in a relatively remote area. By law everyone in The UK has to be insured to drive the vehicle they are in control of and must carry those papers on them while on the road. Her car was seized and she and her passengers were taken to the nearest police quarters where the one passenger had to sit and wait surrounded by all their luggage as the car had been impounded and towed away, while the driver and other passenger rushed around attempting to find a place where they could buy insurance. The whole exercise cost her 32,000 British Sterling! This is what we need here and it should be applied to everyone from the First Citizen downwards. If they don't have the money to retrieve their car and pay the fines both should be held until such time as they can arrange bail. The impounded car can be sold to defray state expenses if necessary. People will think twice about breaking laws when this can be the result. No need to confiscate the licence, just stamp it or flag it in the system. 4 offences and there goes your licence for five years. Of course we still have the problem of insufficient numbers of honest trained traffic officers visibly patrolling the roads to take these people down.

      thokozam - 2011-12-29 14:01

      You go Gail, exacly my point, don't drink and drive and be proud about it, they are trying to control the death toll that is hiting SA, everyone will stay sobber when thinking about going to jail. brothers and sisters please let us unite and be responsible when using the road. BEE.

  • inder.shawn - 2011-12-29 11:38

    "The minister might have been emotional when he made this call." Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele - Only in South Africa!!!

  • Joss - 2011-12-29 13:09

    If they take pedestrians off the National Highways our accident figures would half. Just came back on the N4 from Middelburg to Pretoria. A lot of pedestrians crossing the highway

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