There has been considerable media interest recently in whether or not the fines from the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) have been legally issued, and therefore whether or not the driver is liable to pay the fine. The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) provides clarity on what your rights are as a motorist.
The article in The Star newspaper on 21 May mentions that “Joburg motorists won’t be prosecuted for any offence since 22 December, 2012, and every fine issued since then can be torn up and thrown into the waste-paper bin.” This is not strictly the case.
It is correct that if you have received a fine via ordinary mail it is not legal and then unenforceable, but it is important to note that you cannot simply tear it up and throw it away. Only traffic fines issued via registered mail are legal but even the illegal fines remain on the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) system.
The only way to remove these fines altogether is to fill in an AARTO 08 form. This form can be filled in on the AARTO website and submitted online in the event of a dispute over the legitimacy of the fine. The driver has sixty four (64) days from the date of offense to submit this form. In this case the cause for discrepancy is the illegal manner in which the fine was issued i.e. via ordinary mail.
Although you cannot legally be arrested for these fines because they are illegal, without submitting the AARTO 08 form and clearing the fine, it can still have a knock on effect when reapplying for your driver’s licence or renewing your car licence as these cannot be issued with outstanding fines against your name. It also means that if you are stopped at a road block the JMPD can still harass you into paying these fines.