I received correspondence on the 20th of June 2011 and I am querying this as to the validity of it as I notice the alleged offence occurred on the 5/5/2011 and the post mark on the envelope was the 16/6/2011.
Am I correct in saying that the notification has to be posted within 30 days of the alleged offence?? Could you please advise me in this regard?
It is important to make sure that everyone is on the same page with respect to this issue as most people do not understand the difference between the date of issue and date of posting of a camera fine. Similarly, people get very confused with respect to fines issued under the Criminal Procedure Act and the AARTO Act.
The Criminal Procedure Act
Section 341 notices issued with respect to camera fines under this Act must be issued within 30 days of the occurrence of the alleged offence. This is not part of the Act, but an operational instruction from the NPA. The date of issue of these notices must be imprinted on the notice itself and it is that date that will determine the lapse in time from commission to issue. Because these notices are printed by the contractors to the traffic authority and need not be sent via registered mail, there can often be a difference between the date on which it is issued and the date on which it is physically posted.
There is nothing that says when it must be posted. This leaves open to human error the speed with which the notice is posted and is one of the many flaws with respect to the CPA dealing with traffic fines.
AARTO 03 infringement notices issued with respect to camera fines under this Act must be issued within 40 days of the occurrence of the alleged infringement. Since these notices are printed and assigned an “RA number” (tracking number) by the SA Post Office, the date of issue and the date of posting that is supposed to appear on these notices are pretty much one in the same thing. If no date of posting is imprinted on these infringement notices then no date of issue is either and in a society where laws are obeyed by enforcement agencies as well as members of civil society, this would render the infringement notice invalid if it were to be more than 40 days from the occurrence of the alleged infringement or was missing entirely as is the case on most JMPD infringement notices.
But we do not live in a society where enforcement authorities obey the law, now do we? Traffic authorities in South Africa by and large have very little regard for following proper legal procedure and their so-called “contractors” have even less since their only objective is to generate funds. Until this changes, people are going to have to remain vigilant to these abuses and make sure that they do not get prejudiced by these authorities and their contractors.
For the record, I once again point out that posting section 54 criminal summonses is strictly not allowed under the CPA, but that does not stop the practice from happening. Anyone who receives a section 54 summons in the post must keep the envelope in which it was posted and immediately approach the Magistrates court to which they are being summonsed to appear in, as well as the SAPS and lay a charge of defeating the ends of justice against the issuing authority involved. If this is not done and instead that person decides to ignore the summons, it is only themselves that they will be fooling given that a Magistrate will always without fail issue a warrant of arrest against a person who fails to appear in court on a criminal charge.
National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC)
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