Officials harass drivers over paid fines

2010-09-01 16:07

Cape Town – Motorists who have received traffic fines from the Ubuntu local municipality allege that they are being harassed by authorities, even after paying their fines and providing proof of payment.

Adele Nefdt-Effiong told News24 that she received a traffic fine, and although she paid it, she still gets phone calls from authorities telling her to pay her fine.

"I received a fine in 2008 and only received notification in 2008. I completely forgot and didn’t hear anything until July 2009," she said. "I then made payment in August 2009."

She alleges that officials in the municipality have recently contacted her again, saying that they could not find the payment in their system, adding that she had just received a "final notice" letter.

"I'm very upset about this."

She said she then contacted Cape traffic, and was told that if her fine was not visible on the traffic fines website, it had been settled.

No record

"I checked on the website, and there was no record of me owing anything."

Consumer complaints website, HelloPeter lists 15 other complaints related to traffic fines at the Ubuntu municipality.

A user, calling herself "chantal sa", claims she still receives SMSes telling her to settle her fine after receiving a fine which she paid immediately in December 2008.

"A few days later I received an email informing me that there was a corrected bank reference number. I immediately phoned the call centre to clarify that the fine had been paid out with the incorrect reference number."

She said she had been told it would be corrected, but it has never happened.

Another user who calls himself "Ressel" said: "My kids' mom received a notice from Ubuntu municipality advising her that there was a fine for R1 500 outstanding on her car registration and she would be prosecuted for non-payment."

Notification of payment

He said the fine had been from three years ago and he had driven the car through the area at the time.

"To avoid any hassles on her name, I called them and arranged to make payment to them. I then sent them a notification of the payment. A month later, she got an SMS asking when payment would be made.

"I called them again and arranged to re-send the email confirmation to them as proof of payment. They never replied to my emails," he said.

She was still receiving "snotty" SMSes and emails from Mr Fillis (the municipal manager) in February 2010, said Ressel.

Nonceba Mkhongwana, an official from Ubuntu told News24 that they were aware of the complaints, and that they could have been a result of miscommunication between the municipality and the traffic department.

Municipal manager Martin Fillis said they would look into the complaints and allegations, and conduct an investigation before releasing a statement of the matter.