Some Joburg motorists to get refunds on traffic fines

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pretoria - Motorists, who were issued with traffic summons in Johannesburg for less serious offences between 1 November 2008 and 11 February 2009, might be in luck to and have them withdrawn.

"Fines issued in Johannesburg between 1 November 2008 and 11 February 2009 for less serious offences were cancelled due to a gap in legislation," Metro Police Department's Director for licensing, courts and prosecution, Gerrie Gernecke told BuaNews.

This was because the fines were not implemented in terms of the new Administration Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (AARTO), he said.

According to Mr Gernecke, about 18 2158 motorists qualify to claim their fines which amount to R32 million.

Application forms for refunds of traffic fines, which have been cancelled, will be available at Licensing Departments across Johannesburg from Thursday.

However, applications for refunds only apply to minor offences which exclude drunken driving and/ or exceeding the speed limit.

Motorists who have already paid for fines issued during this period can apply for a refund.

He said they would be refunded by cheque as soon as their application was processed.

Those unable to get to a traffic paypoint or collect a refund form can write a letter to the metro police with the necessary proof of payment attached.

"These application forms or a normal letter, giving all the details such as the ID number, the receipt of payment, can be made at various licensing departments and traffic fine payment points.

"The application would then be assessed and a cheque would be posted by registered mail back to the applicant," said Mr Gernecke.

Motorists can also fax a written application with proof of payment to (011) 381-9575 or contact the call centre on (011) 836-0166 for assistance.

According to a joint statement issued by the JMPD and the Road Traffic Management Corporation, there was a loophole in legislation during this period as one traffic law (the Criminal Procedures Act) had been scrapped and the other (the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences [AARTO]) - not yet applied.

"Despite the announcement that was made and the proclamation published for implementing the AARTO in Johannesburg from 1 November 2008, the Johannesburg municipality could not implement the AARTO as proclaimed due to problems experienced with the level of development of support systems," they said.

In July last year, Transport Minister Jeff Radebe signed the new Act after the system was piloted in Pretoria a month earlier. It will first be introduced in Ekurhuleni before being rolled out nationally.

The AARTO system is best known for the introduction of the points demerit system, which will see drivers getting points deducted for offences and being banned from the road if they exceed a certain number.

Under the system, if a driver commits a traffic offence, a pre-determined number of points allocated to the offence will be awarded against the driver's licence.

After 12 points are exceeded, there will be an automatic driving ban for a period in months equal to three times the number of points by which the 12 is exceeded.

If a driver reaches 14 points, the driver will be banned from driving for six months. Points can be reduced at a rate of one point per three-month period, providing no further demerit points are incurred during that period.

Should a driver be disqualified for a third time, then his licence will be permanently revoked and must re-apply for a learner's licence and begin the process from scratch.

However, this will only occur after the expiry of the disqualification period.