• The RTMC released a statement earlier in December threatening motorists about hitting the road with outstanding traffic fines.
• The AA says the RTMC must immediately retract the statement, and apologise to motorists for creating a false impression of the RTMC's law enforcement capability.
• The only time a road user may be detained at the roadside is if a warrant of arrest is issued against their name.
• For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24.
Earlier this week, the RTMC released a statement as a warning to motorists hitting the road these holidays, and a false threat to citizens. Traffic officials can not prohibit motorists to proceed on the road due to outstanding traffic fines, or detain them for it on the side of the road.
Wheels24's Janine Van der Post says: "The best thing for motorists to do now is to know your rights on this matter, and the AA explains it so well.
"It's also important to know that if you have a lockdown expired driver's licence, or if your driver's licence, learner's licence or PrDP has expired any time between 26 March and 30 December, you can not be fined for an expired licence card as your licence is deemed valid until the end of August 2021. Please share this article with your friends and family to be aware of what the actual law is regarding outstanding traffic fines."
A press statement from the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) about outstanding traffic fines is outrageous and amounts to fear-mongering among South African road users.
The Automobile Association (AA) says the RTMC must immediately retract the statement, and apologise to motorists for creating a false impression of the RTMC's law enforcement capability.
In the statement issued on Tuesday (8 Nov), the RTMC notes: "The RTMC advises all motorists to check if they have any outstanding traffic fines before embarking on their festive journeys. Traffic officers are being deployed on all major routes, and those found with outstanding traffic fines will not be allowed to proceed.
"If this approach is followed through by law enforcement officers, it amounts to an immense abuse of power and the RTMC will effectively be stealing citizens' rights. It is beyond belief that an organisation tasked with enforcing the law – and headed by an Advocate of the High Court – can make such a disgraceful statement clearly threatening citizens, instead of focusing on how to enforce the law better," says the AA.
According to the AA, the statement is indirectly saying motorists with outstanding traffic fines will be arrested, significant or contravention of South Africa's laws.
"The only time a road user may be detained at the roadside is if a warrant of arrest is issued against their name. Preventing someone from proceeding on a journey because of an outstanding traffic fine amounts to arrest without following due process. We cannot stress how totally shameful and outrageous such a statement is," the Association says.
In addition, says the AA, no clarity is given on what exactly an outstanding traffic fine is.
"Is an outstanding fine a fine issued last week, last month, or yesterday? What if someone received a fine but decided to contest it before paying, would that amount to an outstanding fine? Again, the enormity of the legal shortcoming in this statement is glaring, and certainly unbecoming of an agency such as the RTMC," says the AA.