This has resulted in traffic fine income increasing from just under R100 million in 2012/13 to more than R200 million in 2014/15, the city said in a statement on Sunday. The spike had been attributed to a range of interventions introduced to compel “scofflaws” (a person who flouts the law, especially by failing to comply with a law that is difficult to enforce) to settle their outstanding fines.
In addition, higher fine amounts were introduced last year and June 2015 saw a record for traffic fine income in a single month, with more than R23 million collected. In 2013/14, 2,341,374 fines were issued and the income from these totaled R142,340,607. In 2014/15, 2,464,126 fines were issued and the income increased to R227,116,046.
“This is very encouraging and bears testament to the success of the interventions that we have introduced in the last few years,” mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said in the statement.
“Fine collection rates across the country are a major headache and that is why we decided to take action.
“It is important to hold motorists accountable, because when people think that they can get away with their transgressions and mock or ridicule the law in that way it makes the roads more dangerous for all concerned,” he said.
Technical interventions introduced by the city include:
– The Admin Mark on E-Natis which ensures that all warrants are paid up before a motorist can renew their driving licence or vehicle registration;
– Operation Reclaim which pursues motorists with outstanding warrants;
– The use of licence plate recognition cameras in the city’s “spy cars” that help identify drivers with outstanding warrants on the road;
– The use of dashboard cams in more city law enforcement vehicles; and
– The implementation of bulk SMS reminders for fines issued, summonses, and warrants of arrest;
“We have started engaging with the National Prosecuting Authority to prevent massive numbers of fines from being withdrawn through redirection, especially for fleet proxy licence holders.
“We have also tightened up procedures around prosecutors and reporting mechanisms to prevent fines being withdrawn and this has seen the figure drop from 65 percent to 30 percent,” Smith said.
The city was paying for additional capacity at Traffic Courts to ensure that these courts, which were controlled by national government, were able to process all fines and sign all warrants. The city was finalising an agreement with the Sheriffs of the Court to assist with the execution of warrants in future.
“We will do everything in our power to expand the range of interventions to really tackle this issue and ensure compliance. “Further increases in traffic fine income are expected as we start seeing the effect of the higher fine amounts introduced by the magistrates in August last year.
“I have no doubt that there will be a lot of grumbling about this issue but the reality is if you do the crime, you must pay the fine.
“We do not make the laws or set the tariffs for transgressions – we simply enforce them in order to ensure a safe city,” Smith said.