JMPD accused of being issuer, judge, jury and executioner of traffic fines

JOHANNESBURG – Following the complaint lodged with the Public Protector on 16 June 2011 by JPSA and the ongoing saga surrounding the JMPD’s unlawful issue of AARTO 03 infringement notices since 1 June 2010, it has recently come to light that a new tactic is being employed by the JMPD to get people to pay unlawful fines.

On 11 January 2011, the then Acting and now fully appointed Registrar of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), Mr Japh Chuwe wrote to the JMPD “requesting” that they cease sending out infringement notices by ordinary mail in contravention of Section 30(1) of the AARTO Amendment Act. This “request” was summarily ignored – as happens when requests are made.

In the same letter, Mr Japh Chuwe also instructed as follows: “You are furthermore advised that in cases where representation applications are received in respect of infringement notices served by ordinary mail, those infringement notices must be withdrawn and such representations made successful. In relation to those infringement notices referring to juristic persons, the owners of those vehicles in question cannot be requested to identify or nominate drivers as the initial notices were not properly served as prescribed by the Act.”

It has emerged that not only has the JMPD defied the “request” to cease acting unlawfully with respect to service, but that the AARTO Representations office at the JMPD’s offices in Village Road, Selby is turning people away and telling them that they must either pay these fines or elect to be tried in court. This is a gross violation of not only the AARTO Act, but also of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act and the Constitution as the JMPD is now denying people access to administrative justice.

We were informed that this practice was ordered by Director Gerneke in late December 2011, but were unable to verify its implementation until Wednesday 18 January, when JPSA’s National Secretary was subjected to this treatment. She stood her ground and insisted that they take the representation forms she was submitting – neither of which related to her – and JPSA would like to encourage all members of the public to do the same as the JMPD has no right or legal standing to refuse to accept AARTO 08 representation forms. If they subsequently defy the instruction of the Registrar of the RTIA and reject such representations, the JMPD will furthermore be guilty of disobeying a lawful instruction.

A further complaint has been lodged with the Public Protector by JPSA in this regard and we are informed that the Public Protector is scheduled to meet with the JMPD and the RTIA/RTMC on Friday 27 January 2012.

JPSA has continuously and repeatedly warned of the dangers of having an issuing authority being allowed to be issuer, judge, jury and executioner by appointing and employing adjudication officers under AARTO, especially in light of the fact that adjudication is supposed to be a fair and unbiased function of Administrative Justice just as it would be in a conventional court.

Howard Dembovsky
Justice Project South Africa

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