How Traffic Fines Work in South Africa
In South Africa, paying a traffic fine is not an option, but rather a responsibility. Whether a motorist speeds over the limit on a freeway or dashes at 100 km an hour from one traffic light to the next in the suburbs, they know they are breaking the law, and if fined, must bear the consequences. No doubt, there are other even more serious traffic offences, such as speeding while driving under the influence, or skipping a red light at high speed that can have dire repercussions.
South Africa has some of the worst road traffic injury statistics in the world, and motorists must understand that these types of traffic violations that could incur serious harm and risk of putting a life in danger are essentially crimes that deserve punishment.
How Traffic Fines Work
Records of traffic fines and notices of summons that have been served by traffic authorities are backed up electronically. When a road traffic violation has taken place, the procedure is as follows:
Step 1 – Infringement Notice
- A traffic offence is regarded as a very serious violation of the law, which warrants a major sentence on conviction, such as imprisonment, or a substantial monetary fine, or both.
- Minor and major infringements dealt with in accordance with the administrative procedures, as prescribed in the AARTO Act. If a person is alleged to have committed an infringement, the traffic officer will issue an Infringement Notice.
Hand-written infringement notices are handed out by traffic offices and will eventually be replaced by electronic devices. Camera infringements are electronically generated by eNatis and send by mail. At this point, the fine amount has a 50% discount attached if paid in 32 days.
Step 2 - Courtesy letter
A courtesy letter is mailed if the fine is not paid in the first 32 days that the infringement notice is issued. At this point, the full amount must now be paid plus administration fees. Failure to comply with the requirements of the Courtesy Letter will result in the issuing of an Enforcement Order.
Step 3 – Enforcement Order
By failing to comply with the Courtesy Letter or appearing in court after electing to appear in court, an offender will be issued an Enforcement Order by mail. At this point, demerit points will be automatically allocated.
Failure to comply with the requirements of the Enforcement Order within 32 days will result in a Warrant being issued to recover the applicable penalty and fees.
Until such time that the penalty and the additional fees have been paid, no driving licence, professional driving permit, or vehicle licence disc will be issued which is registered in your name until the Enforcement Order has been complied with or revoked.
Step 4 – Warrant of Execution
If the Enforcement Order is not complied with within 32 days a Warrant will be issued and handed to a Sheriff for execution. This may include seizing your movable property, defacing your driving license and license disc, or reporting you to a credit bureau.
For more information on how to query your fine, pay your fine, going to court, and more fine-related topics, visit http://www.aarto.gov.za/.
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