JPSA: Protector report vindicated us

2014-12-23 05:00
Johannesburg Metro Police. (File)

Johannesburg Metro Police. (File)

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Johannesburg - Justice Project SA said on Monday it was vindicated by the public protector's finding that the Johannesburg metro police (JMPD) acted improperly when it sent fines by ordinary post instead of registered mail.

"Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) feels vindicated by the fact that the JMPD has been found to have engaged in 'improper conduct and maladministration' by the public protector," chair Howard Dembovsky said in a statement.

He said it had been an "uphill battle" that continued for more than four and a half years.

"The JMPD and other agencies repeatedly [attempted] to discredit JPSA along the way in order to continue engaging in their improper conduct and maladministration, but the truth has prevailed and JPSA has been proven to have been right in its assertions that it has held from day one."

On 18 December, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said in a report that the JMPD acted improperly when it sent fines by ordinary post instead of registered mail.

The fines, sent by metro police for the period August 2010 until 21 December 2012, did not comply with the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act, Madonsela said in her report.

"The acts of the JMPD accordingly constitute improper conduct and maladministration," she said at the time.

No remedial action could be recommended because metro police had since complied with the act and sent fines by registered mail.

Metro police began sending fines by ordinary mail following the withdrawal of the service by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).

Madonsela's report, "A Matter of Interpretation", followed a complaint lodged in July 2010 and in June 2011 by a Mrs A Slabbert and Dembovsky.

Madonsela said there was no evidence to support the claim that metro police had undertaken to refund those who paid the fines they received through ordinary post.

The public protector recommended that the metro police's chief, in consultation with the city manager, issue a formal apology to be printed in all newspapers in circulation in Johannesburg.

She recommended the RTMC take steps to ensure the insertion of a phrase into the Act which makes it an offence for issuing authorities to violate the Act.

On Monday, Dembovsky said it was a shame that the only remedial action imposed was an apology.

"We had hoped that at the very least they would have been compelled to cancel all of the outstanding unlawfully issued Aarto infringement notices that still exist on their system," he said.

"The JMPD remains in a position to continue to stop motorists in roadblocks and demand payment of these infringement notices under threat of arrest, despite the fact that the notices are in fact unlawful and that the JMPD has no legal powers to arrest or otherwise detain any motorist on the basis of outstanding Aarto fines."

He said JPSA would be considering its options over the next few weeks and may consider approaching the high court to seek an order compelling the JMPD to cancel all illegal infringement notices on their system.

The JMPD said it would comment on Tuesday.

Read more on:    jpsa  |  rtmc  |  jmpd  |  thuli madonsela  |  johannesburg  |  pretoria  |  aarto  |  transport  |  local government
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