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Early Warning – Roadblocks

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I don’t know about other motorists on the road, but I for one don’t particularly enjoy going through one of the many roadblocks that seem to be taking place at the moment.  Not because I have any outstanding fines, although I can imagine how that would and could be the cause for concern, but because, well they are just a pain in the rear end.  They waste my time and usually mean that I have to deal with some individuals who want nothing more from me than an offer of a bribe.

The last couple of times that I have been stopped is because I appear to have put my license disk on the wrong spot on my windscreen.  I keep getting told that to have it behind the rear view mirror (from where I am sitting as the driver) is illegal and that by ‘law’ it is supposed to be in the bottom right hand corner of the windscreen.  Of course no-one can show where it says this in the law, but that is another story for another day.

For others who have outstanding fines and what have you, a roadblock can be an absolute nightmare.  Tales of people being locked up often has people paying up on the spot, irrespective of whether the metro office has produced a warrant of arrest or not.

Here’s the thing though – according to Johannesburg Metro Police spokesperson, Superintendent Wayne Minaar, this practice is unlawful.

The fact of the matter is that the only time you can be forced to pay a fine on the spot is if there is a warrant for your arrest.

The traffic police, in an attempt to collect revenue try and scare you witless and in so doing force you to pay the fine immediately and we seem to fall for this time and time again.

In fact, if the truth be told, a find is only valid for two years and then it becomes stagnant and is supposed to be deleted from the system.

Here’s how the whole thing works.

–    Firstly, you should receive a notice advising you of the offence.  This notice should include (but not be limited to) the nature of the offence (it needs to say for example that the vehicle was traveling at a speed of 81kms in a 60km zone or that the vehicle went through a red robot etc.), the exact location of the offence (again ‘somewhere near’ doesn’t count) the date and exact time of the offence (approximately doesn’t count), the amount of the fine and the payment date.  The notice is then sent to your residential address and it should be paid within 30 days from the date that the notice was issued.

–    If you don’t pay the fine by due date a second notice should be sent out and you then have another 30 days in which to make the payment.

–    If you still don’t make payment a third notice will be sent out.  This notice will be completely different from the other two in that it ‘looks’ like a summons, but isn’t.  You will see that it is in fact an “Intention to Issue Summons.”  This will give you a further 30 days to pay the fine.

–    Should you still have failed to pay, it is only at this stage that a summons is issued.  The summons is usually delivered or ‘served’ by a summons bearer and should be signed for by yourself and/or someone older than 16 who lives on your premises.  So making your gardener, who works for you one day a week and lives next door is illegal.  The summons will have a ‘court date’ on it and you will still have an opportunity to pay the fine prior to the court day.  If you still don’t pay and you don’t attend the court appearance to attest the fine, a warrant for your arrest is then processed.

–    Now if you are caught in a roadblock and there is a warrant out for your arrest, the traffic officers have the right to arrest you if you don’t pay the fine immediately.  Be aware though, that you will also be liable to pay an additional (currently at this time) R300.00 for being in contempt of court.

Remember though that a fine is only valid for two years.  So if you haven’t paid the fine and have managed not to get caught in a road block, you are free and clear.  The fine is then supposed to be cancelled.

Don’t let yourself be bullied into paying something that you no  longer have to.