JPSA blames municipalities for making money from traffic law enforcement– not ensuring road safety.

JOHANNESBURG – Recent reports saying that SALGA has blamed the AARTO Act for the so-called “losses in traffic fine income” experienced by the JMPD, TMPD and EMPD have again highlighted the corrupt nature of traffic enforcement in South Africa.

Justice Project South Africa wishes to voice its disgust over the attitude that has been adopted by the Municipalities of South Africa, represented by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA); who have clearly come to believe that traffic law enforcement is about making money – not ensuring road safety.

The so-called “loss/shortfall” of R208 million of the R460 million budgeted as an income from traffic fines by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department in the 2011/2012 financial year is cited as a “reason” for the AARTO Act to be scrapped. What this flawed argument fails to acknowledge is that:
1. Only a very small proportion of the infringement notices issued by the JMPD are issued on the eNaTIS system which forms part of the AARTO process and therefore the AARTO Act has little or no influence over the outcome of the issue or collection of these fines.
2. Infringement notices issued on the eNaTIS system follow the AARTO process, wherein a Courtesy Letter and subsequently, an Enforcement Order is issued if the infringer does not pay within the first 32 days but the JMPD has purposefully isolated itself from this system.
3. The vast majority of AARTO infringement notices issued by the JMPD are issued on a system developed for the JMPD by TMT Services and these infringement notices are therefore in no way associated with the AARTO processes as they NEVER proceed beyond an infringement notice.
4. Regardless of the stage at which an infringement should be in the AARTO process, the JMPD pockets 100% of all of the revenue on AARTO traffic fines they issue on the TMT system. Only 50% of the penalty value is payable to the issuing authority at any stage in the AARTO process, but the JMPD fraudulently pockets monies due to them as well as monies due to the RTIA in terms of the Act.
5. Since 1 June 2010, the JMPD have arrogantly disposed of the prescript of section 30(1) of the AARTO Amendment Act and regulation 3(1)(b) of the AARTO regulations which requires that all documents required to be served in terms of the Act must be served in person or by REGISTERED MAIL. The JMPD sends most of its infringement notices by ordinary mail instead.
6. People have no doubt become wise to the unlawful behaviour of the JMPD over the past two years and have realised that since the JMPD cannot prove that they have lawfully served infringement notices on them, NOTHING can or will happen if they simply ignore them. This would explain the so-called “loss” way better than the lame excuse that SALGA and the JMPD have come up with.
7. The JMPD has therefore been the master of its own destiny and in typical form now wishes to blame everyone and everything other than themselves for their own criminal actions and shortcomings.

It is not clear just what the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department’s alleged loss of R50 million has to do with AARTO, given that to date; only the JMPD and TMPD are and have been involved in the so-called “pilot” of AARTO whilst Ekurhuleni has not been included.

With respect to the obvious admission by SALGA that traffic “enforcement” is viewed as a financial entitlement to fund Municipalities, JPSA would like to thank the collective Municipalities who are members of SALGA for confirming what we have been saying for years. It is quite clear from the examples cited that traffic enforcement is viewed by Municipalities as nothing more than a source of taxation to generate large amounts of revenue for them, whether such generation is lawful or not and whether it improves road safety or not.

Logically, should traffic law enforcement be successful in achieving greater compliance with traffic laws, this would greatly damage the bottom line of the Municipalities who have come to believe that motorists’ bad behaviour on our roads is nothing more than an excuse for them to make money by giving people permission to break the law, so long as they pay the Municipalities money to do so.

It is clear that the AARTO Act is most certainly in direct conflict with the agendas of Municipalities, given that a points-demerit system would almost certainly diminish the pool of “taxable” motorists, and given that the suspension of their driving licenses is intended to remove delinquent motorists from our roads. The fact that road fatalities cost the fiscus somewhere in the order of R40 billion and the economy over R200 billion per annum seems to be of no concern to SALGA and the Municipalities that belong to it and it is very sad indeed to see that they are prepared to demand the scrapping of legislation that could address some of the carnage on our roads so as to continue to line their collective pockets.

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