Regarding the legality of speeding fines in Johannesburg

For some time now i have had my reservations about the legality of speeding fines here in Joburg, where I live. I received another one in the post the other day & it prompted me to take this a little further. But first let me tell you about the red flags & then I’ll tell you exactly what I am doing.

Big red flags

The biggest red flag is the so-called special discount if you make payment before a certain date. To me that screams “don’t question what we’re doing, simply do what we’re telling you to do”. But if you’re like me & you’ve never been good at being told what to do, it is simply a big red flag. It says to me that this is only about revenue generation

The other issue I have is the manner in which these so-called offences are recorded. For the most part these offences are recorded by people using speed reading cameras. BUT these people sit behind bushes & sundry similarly hidden spots along the road. Or they leave obscured cameras to do the work. You think there’s nothing wrong with that? Ok, consider this, if you went past a big sign that said “slow down to under the speed limit or the camera at the back of this sign is going to take a picture of your car & we will send you a speeding fine”, would you slow down to the limit or not?The stated goal of these speeding fines is to reduce the speed of motorists & hopefully the amount of accidents. So why hide the camera? Because the stated goal is not accurate, the real goal is revenue generation!

You think I am full of shit? Despite repeated calls from various civil rights groups, the JMPD & AARTO have refused to tell us how much money they are making. But from the little hints they have dropped we have some idea. Here is some info copied from this article:

  • Director Gerneke goes on to say that the JMPD’s postage costs amount to R10 million a month.
    • Well, at R18 per infringement notice (quoted to us by him) that equates to well over half a million individual fines per month, or 555,556 to be precise. And that is just for the fines issued by post, not those issued by traffic officers.
    • Taking the calculation of the JMPD’s portion of the fine, which is the full portion of the discounted amount, and applying an average of the five fine amounts (already “discounted”), which works out to R437.50, this equates to a stunning R243, 055, 556  ornearly a quarter of a billion Rands per month.
    • Even if only the lowest amount payable (R125 after “discount”) were to apply, this equates to R138, 888, 889 per month which, by way of example represents 86% of Cape Town’s ANNUAL traffic fine revenue in just one month.
    • The JMPD has previously boasted a “compliance rate” of somewhere in the order of 50%-60% – largely thanks to their highly effective and intimidatory road block methodology where motorists are detained, mostly illegally and forced to pay their fines at the roadside under threat of arrest. This methodology has many Johannesburg motorists so terrified that they regularly ask us what will happen to them in a roadblock if they have outstanding AARTO fines.
    • The AARTO Act has mechanisms in it to increase compliance, not decrease it and these mechanisms should be extremely effective, BUT they need to be applied correctly and therein lays the problem.
    • If the collection or compliance rate has dropped by the claimed 67%, then this would mean that the JMPD is now only collecting 21.5% of all of the fines it issues. This is a little difficult to believe, but at the risk of calling them outright liars, this equates to somewhere in the order of R 29,861,111 per month and that represents a profit of nearly R20 million a month or R240 million a year of realised income, but before paying their contractors.
    • This figure is of course grossly deflated but there will be no transparency emanating from the JMPD or the Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality on this matter and only an independent audit will reveal all of the facts.
    • If this were true and the alleged R27.50 per infringement notice issued “processing fee” were paid to “contractors”, then R15, 277, 778 would have to be paid to the “contractors” monthly because they are allegedly paid for all fines issued, not all fines paid.
    • That would leave the JMPD with a mere R14.7 million a month to pay over to council. Is it any wonder that they are griping? Their contractors make way more than the council does under their claimed statistics!
    • As was said by Mark Twain – “There are three kinds of lies. Lies, damned lies and statistics.”
    • With respect to Director Gerneke’s unilateral decision to cease using the legislated means of service of AARTO infringement notices, this is a clear and flagrant violation of legislation and legally invalidates every single notice that was sent out via standard surface mail.
How scary is that!!!

So what have I decided to do?

I have sent AARTO a letter, asking for some clarification before I pay the last fine they sent me. Here is a copy of the letter I have just put in the post to them:

Dear AARTO,
RE: Legality of Traffic Fines in Johannesburg

This is an open letter from me, Douglas, of the family Hoseck, a natural human being, to AARTO, a company. AARTO will be supplied a printed copy. A digital copy will be made available to all on my blog, www.hoseck.com.

I am send this letter to you in response to the Infringement notice no: 02-4024-009871802-9 (copy enclosed). According to this ‘notice’ I have to pay you the sum of R250-00 because I was allegedly travelling too fast on a public road, on 2011-12-02. I will be happy to pay you but before I do, I have a few questions which I would like answered. As soon as I receive an adequate response from you, to my questions below, I will settle this payment.

You have 30 days from today, 2012-01-18, to respond to my questions below. If you fail to respond, I will consider this matter settled in full.

1:) According to this ‘notice’, the “issuing authority” is the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department. Yet you are requesting payment be made into the bank account of AARTO, a company listed on CIPRO, a company that is NOT the JMPD. Please explain to me why I must pay AARTO, if this notice is from the JMPD? If, in fact, this notice is from the JMPD, then AARTO is a 3rd party interloper with no standing in this matter. Please explain?

2:) According to the Bills of Exchange act 34 of 1964, a bill demanding payment of any kind needs to be signed by a representative of the company. There is no signature on this ‘notice’, so please explain how this constitutes a legal bill?

3:) According to the Bills of Exchange act 34 of 1964, before any company (like AARTO) can claim money from a natural person, like me, there has to be a signed agreement between the two parties, which clearly defines the terms of the contract between the parties. I cannot recall signing an agreement with AARTO, please would you be kind enough to supply me with a copy of the signed agreement between us.

I look forward with eager anticipation to your speedy response, so we can settle this matter.

Sincerely
Douglas, of the family Hoseck.

If I do actually get a response from them, I’ll come and post it here. So stay tuned:) And start asking some questions for yourself before these thieves rob you blind!

Update added 28 February, 2012.

I received a notification from AARTO to say I do not have to pay this fine. I DID NOT receive any answers to my questions. But fortunately, they were silly enough to send me another speeding fine, see my response here.

3 Comments

  1. Thanks a lot for this. I also got this notice today and checked their site on how to pay. This was part of what I found on payment:

    “By cash deposits or bank guaranteed cheque at any branch of ABSA bank. The account number is not specified on the notice. The teller must use the “Traffic Fine” payment option on the terminal. The account number must not be entered. Ensure that the cashier do not enter an account number onto the deposit slip.
    For ABSA bank and FNB bank clients only at ATM, internet banking or cell phone banking”.

    Then I stumbled on your blog. Very insightful blog. Thanks.

  2. Thank you for the above I will also do the same

  3. SOMEBODY HAS GOT TO STOP THE JMPD. They are robbing the hard-working citizens of Gauteng. There must be thousand and thousands of speed cameras all over our city. THIS IS WRONG. Traffic cameras should not be allowed to operate on more that one day a week. Remove the cameras and replace them with speed warning indicators. Use the demerit system. PEOPLE THIS IS YOUR CITY. DON’T LET THIS CONTINUE.
    Most Johannesburg citizens need to travel a long way to get to there work place.
    Speeding cameras are an easy source of income for the JMPD. Unless we do something they will eventually put up cameras on every road we use.

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