RTIA GETS IT WRONG BY BLOCKING LICENCES
The decision by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) to send motorists notifications threatening to withhold vehicle or driving licences, because of outstanding infringements is out of step with the legal process. Advocate Stefanie Fick, OUTA’sHead of the Accountability Division, explains why.
The RTIA’s failure to comply with its process is either due to capacity constraints, or malicious collection practices. Either way, this cannot continue at the expense of motorists. There is a specific process that must be followed once a motorist gets issued with a fine for a traffic offence:
1. The infringer must be issued with an infringement notice (fine) to inform him or her of the offence. This notice must include all the relevant information related to the infringement, including that the infringer must either pay it, or contend it within 32 days.
2. If the infringer does not take up either of the options within 32 days, the process stipulates that the RTIA must issue and serve a courtesy letter on the infringer. This courtesy letter is to make sure that the infringer is aware of the infringement and its consequences.
3. If there is no courtesy letter, the RTIA has deprived an infringer from the opportunity to comply with an infringement notice, resulting in a more serious consequence – an enforcement order. If this is the case, it means that the RTIA has failed to follow its own process.
4. The absence of a courtesy letter also implies that the enforcement order may be unenforceable and can potentially be set aside by a court of law.
OUTA urges our Supporters to check regularly whether they have enforcement orders on the AARTO website, especially before you arrange for the renewal of your motor or driving licences. If you are confronted with an enforcement order at a licence renewal centre, you won’t have time to apply for the revocation of the enforcement orders (which you have the legal right to do) and you will be forced to pay the outstanding amount.