Slip up puts Metro police in a fix over legality of traffic fines

Cecil Motsepe

Cecil Motsepe

Johannesburg's metro police have been ripping off motorists by illegally issuing traffic fines for the past three months.

The city failed to introduce the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act after it was promulgated on November 1 last year and metro police have continued to collect fines under the old Road Traffic Act.

Legal experts say the oversight renders all traffic fines issued after November 1 unlawful.

"Every motorist who got a traffic fine after November 1 should approach the municipality and demand to be refunded," a legal expert said.

JMPD spokesman Wayne Minnaar yesterday confirmed that the city had slipped up.

"We have applied to Parliament for an extension on the legality of those fines.

"We are waiting for the announcement to be gazetted," he said.

But Minnaar said the public had no legal recourse.

"No one can stop anyone from challenging the legality in court, but we have applied for those fines [to be declared] to have been issued legally," he said.

Mphafolane Koma, a lawyer in Johannesburg, dismissed Minnaar's statement and said he was trying to do damage control.

"They are trying to get their house in order. Even if Parliament can come up with corrective measures, those subsequent measures cannot be applied retrospectively," he said.

"At this stage there is nothing that can legalise those unlawful actions. The public can come forward and demand their refunds. They can even sue the relevant minister," Koma said.