RTIA: Motorists can’t be issued with arrest warrants for failing to pay fines

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The agency said that this provision has been removed from the Aarto Act and the only way that law enforcement could get motorists to pay their outstanding fines was through issuing enforcement orders.

JOHANNESBURG – The Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) said that motorists could not be issued with a warrant of arrest for failing to pay their traffic fines.

The agency said that this provision has been removed from the Aarto Act and the only way that law enforcement could get motorists to pay their outstanding fines was through issuing enforcement orders.

The agency said that motorists were given more than 60 days to resolve a traffic fine, after which, a formal notice was sent, followed by an enforcement letter.

• READ: The draft AARTO Act amendments explained

The Road Traffic Infringement Agency has been accused of ramping up these enforcement orders, in keeping with legislation, even if you have just a single violation.

This makes it more difficult to obtain a driver’s licence or to register your vehicle.

The RTIA’s spokesperson Monde Mkalipi has warned motorists not to fall for scammers.

“There is absolutely no possibility of a road used being issued with a warrant of arrest to resolve an Aarto fine. Road users are asked to please contact the RTIA.”

Several motorists have been scammed by opportunists preying on those who want to renew their driver’s license or vehicle licence disk, threatening that they could be arrested unless they forked out large sums of money.

One man, who doesn’t want to be identified, was swindled out of more than R3,000 by scammers pretending to help him so he could renew his driver’s licence.

“I received a phone call saying that I have R3,000 worth of outstanding fines and I have to pay them immediately otherwise they won’t renew my driver’s licence. I told them I didn’t have that kind of money and they said they’re going to have to press and charges and I might be arrested.”

These practices are not exactly novel but the Justice Project South Africa said that more people were being taken advantage of and this could be attributed in part to the Road Traffic Infringement Agency’s enforcement orders, which made it near impossible to navigate or negotiate.

As chairperson, Howard Dembovsky, explains, criminals are also getting more savvy by printing fake arrest warrants bearing the driver’s name to make things more convincing.

“I do suspect that this is a syndicate that is operating… they go from centre to centre.”

Dembovsky stresses that the Aarto Act does not include warrants of arrest because these are issued by the courts. He’s also concerned that those who try to report the crimes get little to no help from the authorities.

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