ENFORCEMENT ORDERS AND THE LAW
ENFORCEMENT ORDERS AND THE LAW
OUTA has received numerous complaints from motorists who received SMS’s informing them that they have outstanding enforcement orders that will prevent them from renewing their vehicle or driving licences. In many cases motorists are unaware of any outstanding infringement notices for unpaid fines.
Our investigation shows that the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) is effectively converting old infringement notices into enforcement orders without following due process as laid out in the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act. An enforcement order has the effect of preventing a person from renewing his or her drivers’ licence. Whether the RTIA’s failure to comply with its process is attributed to capacity constraints or malicious collection practices remains, is still uncertain at this point. OUTA did raise the issue with the RTIA (see here) and we will keep you updated.
In the meanwhile, we urge motorist to please check regularly whether they have enforcement orders or not, especially before they renew their motor vehicle- and drivers’ licenses.
To assist motorists, OUTA compiled a list of FAQ’s on the topic of unpaid traffic fines, infringement notices, enforcement orders and the process according to the AARTO Act, currently governing this process.
Frequently asked questions:
How can I confirm if the RTIA has followed due process or if an enforcement order has been issued against me?
To determine whether the RTIA has issued either an infringement notice, courtesy letter, enforcement order or warrant of execution against you, simply visit the AARTO website at http://www.aarto.gov.za/index.php/query-my-fine and follow the following steps:
• Navigate to the yellow pane on the left side of the page and click on the “Query My Fine” hyperlink.
• You will then be prompted to type the captcha phrase appearing on your screen, consisting of numerical and alphabetical symbols, into the text box. Do this and click “submit” or enter on your keyboard or smartphone.
• The page will then take to a selection page where you need to identify the specifics of your query.
• Under “QUERY BY INFRINGER”, select the option under “ID Document Type” as “RSA ID DOCUMENT” from the dropdown menu and enter your ID number.
• Upon entering your ID number, a new box will appear prompting you to enter either your drivers’ licence or learners’ licence number. Enter this number and click “next” at the bottom of the page.
Upon following the steps above, you will be taken to a page that looks similar to the one below. On this page, you will be able to determine whether anything had been issued against you. You can then navigate your way through the page by clicking on the relevant infringement notice number to determine whether any courtesy letters had been sent in relation to that infringement.
What happens if I have an enforcement order against me?
You will not be able to renew your vehicle- or driver’s licence unless you pay the outstanding amount or apply for revocation (cancellation) of the enforcement order. A motorist could apply for the revoking of an enforcement order if the lawful process explained was not followed, as explained below.
What if no courtesy letter was sent, but an enforcement order was issued against me?
If this is the case, it means that the RTIA has failed to follow its own process. OUTA has written to the RTIA informing them of this non-compliance. A copy of this letter can be accessed here. 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.
However, setting aside a flawed enforcement order requires time, money and resources – something an infringer should not be burdened with when the administrative flaw is a result of the RTIA’s own conduct. Considering the current state of our judicial system under various COVID-19 regulations, electing to have the matter dealt with in court is not something that everybody may have an appetite for.
How do I apply to get an enforcement order revoked?
You can either apply yourself (see below) or request an organisation like Fines4U to assist you with the process. Unfortunately, OUTA can’t assist you with this process
Please explain how should the process work when I commit a traffic offense and an infringement notice is issued?
Without going into too much technical detail on this process, the following milestones forms part of the lawful process under the current AARTO Act. (Remember that government has promulgated a new law, the AARTO Amendment Act, which is set to roll-out countrywide in July 2021, but OUTA is currently challenging this law in the high court. See here.
What exactly is an infringement notice?
When a person commits a traffic infringement (i.e. speeding, illegal parking), the RTIA or authorised enforcement agency such as a municipality, must issue AND SERVE an infringement notice to the person that has committed the infringement.
• The infringement notice must contain all relevant information related to the infringement and must state that an infringer must within 32 days upon receipt of the infringement notice elect either of the following:
o pay the applicable penalty;
o arrange for the payment of instalments in relation to the penalty;
o make the necessary representations;
o elect to be tried in court; or
o submit in the prescribed form, the proof that the person (who had received an infringement notice) is not the person that was the driver of the vehicle at the time that the infringement was committed.
What is a courtesy letter, and what is its aim?
The aim of a courtesy letter is to ensure that an infringer is informed of the infringement he or she has committed and the consequences thereof
• Should an infringer fail to act upon either of the options as listed above within 32 days, the RTIA must issue and serve a courtesy letter on the infringer. A courtesy letter is exactly that – a courtesy letter.
• A courtesy letter must again state that the infringer has 32 days to comply with the options available to him or her for failing to comply with an infringement notice, namely:
o make the necessary representations;
o make payment in relation to the infringement;
o pay the applicable penalty and the prescribed fee of the courtesy letter; or
o notify the RTIA that he or she elects to be tried in court.
• Failure for an infringer to comply with the courtesy letter within 32 days, will result in an enforcement order being issued against the infringer.
What is an enforcement order and how does it affect me?
The purpose of an enforcement order is for the law to take its course where an infringer has not complied with either an infringement notice or subsequently a courtesy letter.
• Upon expiry of 32 days after issuing the courtesy letter (whatever the case may be), the RTIA must issue the enforcement order and serve it on the infringer.
• It is important to note that the RTIA only issue an enforcement order after 32 days have lapsed.
• In the enforcement order itself, it should be stated that the infringer has 32 days to pay the penalty, representations fee and the fees of the courtesy letter, if any, and the prescribed fee of the enforcement order to the agency at the specified place and in the specified manner, and that the prescribed demerit points will be recorded in the national contraventions register.
• If an infringer fails to comply within 32 days, the RTIA may then seek to issue a warrant of execution.
• While an enforcement order remains in force, an infringer is prohibited from renewing his or her drivers’ licence, driving permit or licence disk, until the enforcement order has been complied with.
How and on what grounds do I get an enforcement order revoked?
An enforcement order must be revoked by the RTIA if the infringer applies for revocation in the prescribed manner and submits reasons for example, that due process was not followed, to the satisfaction of the registrar why an enforcement order must be revoked.
• Revocation results in the cancelation of the consequences of an enforcement order.
• The prescribed form to use is the “AARTO 14” form and can be downloaded directly from the AARTO website.
• As previously indicated, Fines4U may be approached to handle the revocation on the infringer’s behalf.