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Ministers to dodge R200k fines

2012-07-26 08:39

A LICENCE TO SPEED: Justice minister Jeff Radebe overtakes other speeding ministers and moves into third place with R34 600 in traffic fines.

CAPE TOWN - Earlier in July, we reported on Dipou Peters racking up a staggering R40 000 in traffic fines, but shocked parties weren’t given much time to process the information as news of Susan Shabangu’s shocking unpaid R64 060 became public.

Now justice minister Jeff Radebe is the latest SA official to come under the spotlight of ignoring the law as he collected R34 600 in traffic fines.

The Democratic Alliance's Dene Smuts, shadow minister of justice and constitutional development, reported that Radebe raked in the hefty amount of traffic fines between 2010 - 2012.

MINISTERS WITH A NEED TO SPEED

Radebe joins the swelling ranks of national cabinet ministers who have racked up fines in excess of R30 000 between April 2009 and March 2012.

Full breakdown of Radebe's fines!

Smuts said: "As the custodian of our criminal justice system, we would expect Minister Radebe to show more respect for the law, and equality before the law, and for the potentially devastating impact of speeding and other traffic violations on the lives of others.

"If Minister Radebe's need for speed on the road was matched with a desire to speed up the wheels of justice, South Africa would be a better place."

In a reply to DA questioning, Radebe outlined his total fines showing that the minister recieved three fines to the value of R3000 between 2010 and 2011 along with a traffic violation to the value of R4500 in November 2011.

Smuts replied: "Where was he going in such a hurry on 16 July 2010, on 13 and 28 November 2011 and on 22 January 2012 – the days on which he got three fines of R3 000 each and one fine of R4 500? If he wasn’t in the (Mercedes-Benz) sedan, who was?"

The total tally of fines for national ministers now stands at R207 740 and sixteen ministers are yet to reply to questioning.

EXEMPT FROM PAYMENT

Unfortunately for tax payers, cabinet traffic offenders could avoid paying the R207 740 total in fines racked up by drivers of their official vehicles.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development said that fines would be waived as drivers of ministerial vehicles were allowed to speed while on official business, provided the appropriate warning lights and sirens were switched on at the time.

The department's spokeswoman, Phumla Sekhonyane, said the National Road Traffic Act allowed for drivers in special categories to exceed the general speed limit.

Sekhonyane said: “If a minister's vehicle gets a speeding fine while being driven by a person conducting his or her civil protection duties, and after such a person has complied with the legislative requirements of exercising safety and using a siren, such a fine will be set aside.

“If, in the conduct of their duties, it is found that a person engaged in civil protection exceeds the speed limit without due course, such actions must be reported and shall be investigated,” she added.

Sekhonyane said that ministers driven by members of the special protection unit were exempt from paying fines.

Top traffic offending ministers 2012:
Mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu - R64 060
Minister of energy Dipuo Peters - R39 400
Justice minister Jeff Radebe - R34 600
Agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson - R30 400.
Water and environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa - R12 625
Science and technology minister Naledi Pandor - R9800

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