Last year a local resident who spoke to Bosveld Review says she was sent two speeding fines where she drove between 72km/h and 75km/h in a 60km/h zone. She then took the fines to the traffic department in the city to pay, and it was there that she was told there were six more outstanding that she was never aware of.
She was also told that not all traffic fines are sent to motorists, and the best way they can make sure that they are not owing anything is either by checking regularly at their local traffic department, or they will get the information when a licence renewal is done annually.
The system that is used at a road block picks up on outstanding fines and subsequently, outstanding warrants of arrest for the fines that haven’t been payed.
In one reported case in Gauteng a woman was told she has fines to the value of R11 000 and needed to pay up.
The law states the following:
A traffic officer cannot legally arrest you for outstanding section 341 or section 54 fines unless a warrant of arrest has been issued.
A traffic officer in the city, Lawrence Nkomo, told Review that motorists are within their rights to check if a roadblock is legal by requesting to see the roadblock’s certificate of authentication, which must be signed by either the National or Provincial Police Commissioner. “Without this certificate, the roadblock is illegitimate,” Nkomo said.
Here are some other rights that motorists have:
1. You are allowed to request that the traffic officer who pulled you over, produce his or her certificate of appointment.
The Criminal Procedure Act provides that an officer who cannot or will not provide an appointment certificate at a roadblock on demand, is in violation of the Act and that any actions that he or she takes will be unlawful if such a certificate is not provided.
2. You are also allowed to film and photograph traffic officers at a roadblock in accordance with SAPS standing order 156. Traffic officers are not allowed to refuse you from doing so. This is a helpful course of action to take in gathering evidence of misconduct.
According to an informed source though, it is important that motorists know that they can be arrested for obstruction justice and this includes:
• If you intentionally and unlawfully violate the dignity of an officer, you could be taken into custody.
• Any racial slurs, hate speech or actions that prevent the officer from doing their job.
• Threatening or becoming violent towards law enforcement officers.
It is important to note that the Polokwane Traffic Department is not linked to any of the websites where you may search for possible outstanding fines as stated on the back of a sent traffic ticket.