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Hundreds of traffic fines could be scrapped following ‘landmark’ ruling

2017-02-27 20:43

Kaveel Singh, News24

 (File, Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(File, Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Johannesburg – Hundreds, and potentially thousands, of traffic fines issued in Johannesburg and Pretoria under the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act may be scrapped, following a North Gauteng High Court ruling.

According to the ruling, which has been described as landmark, more than 400 fines dating back to 2008 would be cancelled where authorities did not comply with the Aarto Act’s conditions.

The ruling could open the door for more motorists to have their fines scrapped.

Judge Bill Prinsloo ruled in favour of traffic fines management company Fines4U (Pty) Ltd and Audi Centre Johannesburg on Friday.

The ruling came after the high court confirmed traffic authorities would now have to strictly abide by the Aarto Act.

Justice Project South Africa, in a statement on Monday, said there were flagrant abuses of power practiced by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA).

"In short, Judge Prinsloo ruled that the RTIA and issuing authorities may not do as they wish, act outside of the framework of the Aarto Act and run roughshod over the constitutional rights of motorists."

The JPSA said Prinsloo had found that RTIA officers were often inconsistent with adjudications.

It said not all fines would be affected by the ruling.

"Whilst this judgment augers well for other people and entities who have suffered similar abuses by the RTIA, the Judge did not rule and could not have ruled that all similar representations and affected Aarto infringement notices issued since 2008 must be scrapped since this review judgment was granted only to Fines4U and Audi Centre Johannesburg and was specific to the 415 affected infringement notices," the JPSA said in its statement.

"Any other person who feels that they have been wronged by the Agency and/or the issuing authorities which are compelled to operate within the framework of the Aarto Act will therefore not see their traffic fines being automatically scrapped as a result of this judgment, since it was granted exclusively to Fines4U and Audi Centre Johannesburg.

"What it does mean, however, is that all similarly affected persons and entities are fully entitled to cite this reportable decided case in making representations to the RTIA."

A transport department spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.