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Unpaid traffic fines: RTIA apologises for sms 'communication error'

2017-09-28 09:09

Johhanesburg - Many Gauteng motorists have received notification about unpaid traffic fines by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA). 

RTIA said that it has appointed a service provider, Syntell, to send sms notification reminders to motorists with outstanding AARTO traffic fines in Gauteng. 

The sms notifications are for fines issued from April 2017 to date. An email notification has also been issued. 

The Justice Project South Africa  said: "Recently, a private company called Syntell (Pty) Ltd which contracts its services to numerous traffic authorities around South Africa has embarked on SMS and email campaigns which purport to originate from the RTIA seeking to rake in monies applicable to “stagnated” traffic fines issued by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (“JMPD”)."

"In the latest email campaign sent from “RTIA@trafficnotification.co.za” recipients’ names, full national identity numbers and vehicle details, as well as a list of some of their outstanding AARTO infringement notices are displayed for all to see. In numerous instances, the fines listed therein date back some five years, to 2012, when the JMPD ceased unlawfully violating Section 30(1) of the AARTO Act by posting bogus “AARTO infringement notices” it had captured on its own systems since April 2010 by “ordinary domestic mail”."

An example of the SMS:

An example of the email issued by the RTIA:

So what’s the problem?

JPSA said: "At the outset, it is important to note that we acknowledge that the reason people are receiving SMS messages and emails similar to this one is that they do indeed have outstanding infringement notices which exist against their particulars.

"In most instances this would be as a result of a vehicle registered in the name of the person to whom the email is sent having allegedly committed one or more road traffic infringements – most probably speeding or parking infringement. If the infringement notice starts with the prefix “02” it’s most probably a speeding infringement and if it starts with the prefix “03” it’s most probably a parking infringement.

"JPSA’s issue is not with the fact that people are being notified of “traffic fines” which have been issued against those people’s particulars. Our “issue” is with the timing and manner in which this has been done since, without exception, those who have contacted us to ask about the ligitimacy of these emails have complained about not knowing that any of the fines listed had been issued, some of which date back five years to 2012, when the JMPD ceased unlawfully violating Section 30(1) of the AARTO Act by posting bogus “AARTO infringement notices” it had captured on its own systems since April 2010 by 'ordinary domestic mail'.

"In most instances, even where they don’t date back as far as 2102, the fines listed in these emails have mostly “stagnated” and in so doing, become unenforceable since procedure has not been followed by the authorities. Syntell, the JMPD and the RTIA are acutely aware of this fact and it is the JMPD itself which has repeatedly complained in the media and elsewhere that the RTIA has not done its job, but has instead, allowed these fines to stagnate."

Click here to read JPSA's full response

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RTIA responds

The RTIA confirms that it has been sending communication to motorists reminding them of their outstanding AARTO traffic fines via SMS notifications. 

According to Japh Chuwe, the Registrar for the RTIA, said: "This is in line with the Agency’s mission of having 'an informed, compliant and safe road user community'."

RTIA acknowledges with regret the communication error which has since been rectified wherein "motorists were urged to respond to historical fines dated beyond April 2017". 

Chuwe said: "We wish to express our apologies for the alarm that the communication error may have caused and appreciate that the matter was brought to our attention." 
The RTIA adds that the sms notifications DO NOT replace the "legislated regulation regarding the manner of serving AARTO documents through registered mail". The sms and emails, says the RTIA, serves to remind motorists who have already received notifications through registered mail to take action before they incur further penalties.

The RTIA said: "The purpose is to inform the public of notices under their names it is further to afford them an opportunity to explore AARTO options at their disposal should there be any error or any area of disagreement with the fine issued.  Motorists are further reminded to heed the options available to them should they realise that there is an outstanding AARTO traffic fine under their name."  

Options for motorists:

Example of SMS notification currently issued on behalf of the RTIA by its appointed provider:

Reminding a motorists about an infringement notice:
"AARTO Notice %XX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXX-X% issued for ID %XXXXXX%. Discounted value %RXXXXX%. The 50% discount expire on %YYYYMMDD%. Failing to pay will result in losing the discount and incurring additional admin fees. View details or pay @ www.paycity.co.za or contact JMPD 0110367515 or RTIA 0861227861"
Enforcement order:
"Enforcement Order outstanding for AARTO notice %XX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXX-X% for ID %XXXXXX%. You will not be able to renew your vehicle or driving licence whilst this notice is outstanding. View details or pay @ www.paycity.co.za or contact JMPD 0110367515 or RTIA 0861227861."

The organisation adds: "The RTIA would like to put on record that, these notifications are meant to keep motorists informed of their traffic fine status and therefore their rights and responsibilities on the roads. Should the alleged infringer feel the need to challenge/ dispute their traffic fine, an in the case where an infringement notice issued to an alleged infringer has not been served through a registered mail or through personal service, the RTIA as an administrator of AARTO as well as an adjudicator is required by law to uphold the rights of the motorist and allow the motorist to exercise the following options as outlined above." 

Read more on:    jpsa  |  south africa  |  gauteng  |  road safety  |  traffic fines

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