Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) chairperson Howard Dembovsky has noted that the recent statement made by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) – stating that drivers who are pulled over this December and found to have outstanding traffic fines, will not be allowed to continue their trip – is unlawful.
As reported by BusinessTech earlier this week, the RTMC – which is responsible for national road traffic law enforcement – stated they intend to sharpen traffic law enforcement during the December holiday period.
As a result, any driver who is found to have outstanding traffic fines will not be allowed to continue their trip.
“There is no provision in any law that authorises traffic officers to prevent motorists from proceeding with their journey if they are found to have outstanding traffic fines,” said Dembovsky.
“A traffic fine is not a warrant of arrest and should not be regarded as one. An arrest warrant is issued by a judicial officer if a person has been summoned to court and has failed to appear.”
He argued that any arrest made under the accusation of an outstanding traffic fine will be unlawful.
Historically, the RTMC has shown intent to arrest drivers under false pretenses – such as threatening to send a driver that is driving under the influence to jail for seven days before they are allowed a bail application, said Dembovsky.
These arrests are unlawful and drivers should stay aware of what the police are not allowed to do, he said.
Despite this, the RTMC has warned that drivers should check if they have any outstanding traffic fines before leaving for their December holidays.
The December period will also see an escalation in road blocks, as well as a focus on areas such as taxi ranks, malls, and rest stops in order to raise awareness about road traffic laws and violations.