Illegal to seize licences - JPSA

2011-12-29 08:34

Johannesburg - There is no legal basis for traffic police to confiscate an alleged traffic offender's licence on the spot, Justice Project SA has warned.

The organisation's chairman, Howard Dembovsky, said: "There is no provision in the Transport Act or legislation for traffic police to confiscate licences. It is not within the law.

"I'm not saying licences should not be confiscated or suspended for serious offences, there is a way to do so." Only a courts could revoke a licence.

Shoot-from-the-hip national transport minister Sibusiso Ndebele said: "Drivers arrested for any offence must have their driving licence seized as well as suspended and/or cancelled."

He was reacting to the 900-plus road deaths so far in December 2011 and said harsher action was needed against traffic law offenders.

His spokesman, however, backtracked: "We cannot do anything without a legal basis. The National Road Traffic Act is clear regarding this matter and currently grants powers to the courts as well as to provincial transport MECs to cancel or suspend a driving licence."


Since October 2010, as part of a national rolling enforcement plan, several drivers have been jaileid without the option of a fine and seen their licence suspended or cancelled, for offences including drinking and driving, reckless and/or negligent driving and speeding.

Dembovsky said confiscating a driving licence at the roadside would amount to theft and expose the minister to criminal charges. It would also give traffic cops more scope to beg a bribe.

He said: "The minister might have been emotional when he made this call."

Ndebele said crashes were not accidents, but caused by "blatant disregard for traffic laws, which include overloading, drunk driving, speeding and unsafe overtaking". The authorities would continue to become more aggressive in dealing with irresponsible drivers.


  • raath - 2011-12-29 13:18

    "Only a courts"? "jaileid"? I see the editor is on holiday...

  • Trevor - 2011-12-30 07:52

    My heart bleeds custard for this idiot "Sibusiso Ndebele", one of many AA appointment which just proves, we need SKILLED EDUCATED people running departments like a business should be run...the ANC Employment Agency is still vomitting this "calibre" of Comrades, joke!

  • Japie - 2011-12-30 08:51

    It's this 'shoot-from-the-hip' policy entrusted to incompetent fools(oops! sorry officers) that leaves me apprehensive about this country. The absolute abuse of power and poor training of law enforcement officers are precisely what has lead to this chaotic disposition we find ourselves in in the first place. Now we are addressing the symptoms not the cause (as usual). Time to immigrate to a western civilized operating system, where hopefully, if I'm lucky, Zuma would never contemplate going as these civilized cultures only cause problems to their own chaotic, uncivilized bush-culture.

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