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RTMC driver arrest threat: 'A gross violation of rights'

2015-12-24 07:30

ZERO TOLERANCE: The RTMC published a list of 9 traffic offences that could land you behind bars Image: Arrive Alive

Johannesburg - The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has warned road users they could be arrested for traffic offences during the holiday season. On Tuesday, News24 published a list of 9 traffic offences  that could, the RTMC says, land you in jail.

Makhosini Msibi, RTMC Chief Executive Officer, said: "Make no mistake - we are going to be arresting people. We have gone beyond a chapter of issuing a summons."

The Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) has hit back stating that Msibi's 'misinformed assertions to go unchallenged'.

JPSA responds

JPSA said: "At the outset, it must be noted that JPSA is not anti-traffic law enforcement, nor does it seek to defend the actions of delinquent road users. Quite the opposite in fact; JPSA is very much in favour of proper physical and visible policing but we simply cannot allow the CEO’s clearly misinformed assertions to go unchallenged."

Here are four traffic violations you can be arrested for:
 · Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
 · Exceeding the speed limit by more than 30km/h in an urban area or more than 40km/h outside of an urban area or on a freeway
 · Reckless or negligent driving including overtaking on a “barrier line”
 · Not displaying any number plates on your vehicle

JPSA said: "While there are other offences for which no admission of guilt fine is permissible and people committing them may be arrested and must appear in court, these are the ones the CEO referred to. Traffic officers are however not empowered to arrest anyone for any of the other offences in the list and in particular, the CEO’s assertion that a person may be arrested for not wearing a seatbelt is simply outrageous.

"It is reckless for a person of the seniority of CEO of the RTMC to be making such outrageous, emotional statements, lest some traffic officers take his assertions seriously. Traffic officers are granted limited powers under law in effecting arrests without a warrant and acting any differently would definitely provide people with an opportunity to lodge civil claims against the traffic authorities and the officers who arrest them for offences for which arrest is not prescribed.

"Referring to arrest as 'inconveniencing people' is simply untenable and constitutes a gross violation of the Bill of Rights under the Constitution. Being a so-called 'advocate', the CEO should be acutely aware of this, as should all of the traffic chiefs he had on display at his media conference."

Click here for JPSA's full response

'What is needed is clear heads'

Johan Jonck, editor of Arrive Alive, said: ''This is why even though we share the frustrations of the RTMC and Law Enforcement Authorities pertaining to the Disregard for the Rules of the Road by so many road users, we simply cannot threaten people with arrest and being 'thrown in jail for offences which are traffic infringements and not crimes!

''What is needed is clear heads with the correct interpretation and implementation of the Rules of the Road - Making inaccurate statements leads to further legal uncertainty and opens the door to corrupt activities by those we need so desperately to enforce the Rules of the Road!"

SA driver Demerit System

The South African driver Demerit System has taken years to be implemented but it looks like the green light could be given in April 2016.

It could lead to repeat road offenders having their driving licences suspended or even cancelled, reports Arrive Alive.

The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) system will be implemented and managed by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA). 

SA Demerit System: All you need to know

Click here to download the full Demerit System PDF

READ: How to fight traffic fines in SA: Top 5 questions answered

Government says the Demerit System will have the following benefits:

 • It will provide a scheme to discourage road traffic contraventions
 • To facilitate the adjudication of road traffic infringements
 • It will support the prosecution of offences in terms of the national and provincial laws relating to road traffic, and implement a points demerit system
 • Provide for the establishment of an agency to administer the scheme
 • Removing routine traffic offences from overcrowded court roles
 • Enabling drivers and traffic officers to verify offences via information stored in the National Traffic Information System (NaTIS) system
 • Encouraging better driver behaviour and taking reckless, illegal or fraudulent drivers off South Africa's roads

Read more on:    jpsa  |  rtmc  |  traffic  |  demerit system  |  arrive safe

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