Alternative ways to pay traffic fines and avoid a jail sentence

In South Africa, the rate of payment of traffic fines is as low as 20%. This is according to Rapport's investigation, based on studies from the Treasury and the financial statements of about 20 largest metros and municipalities.

In Cape Town, Johannesburg, eThekwini (Durban) and Ekurhuleni alone motorists now owe more than R5 billion in overdue traffic fines.

The rate of payment for traffic fines in Cape Town, where motorists now owe the metro R1.2 billion, has dropped from 35% in 2009/10 to 20% in 2013/14.

But what is the cause of all these, why are South Africans not paying their traffic fines? Long queues at traffic departments used to be the biggest reason for the hold back but alternative ways of paying traffic fines were introduced in an endeavour to make things easier for motorists. However, these efforts did not see traffic fines being paid.

Traffic fines can be paid at these outlets:

  • At any Pick n Pay stores country wide
  • At any cashiers or ATM’s in ABSA banks
  • Internet Banking – Select Traffic fine under payments and then enter 16 digit notice number, select from account. – Only for ABSA Bank Internet clients
  • South African Post Office (SAPO) - Any South African Post Office anywhere in South Africa. Hand over original fine and pay cashier.
  • First National Bank (FNB) - Any FNB ATM, cashiers and online.
  • Shoprite Checkers
  • Engen Quickshops
  • Some Woolworths Stores
  • Lewis
  • Spar
  • Boxer

Online

What are the different kinds of traffic fines?

You can get one of two kinds of fines, regardless of the traffic violation: A Section 56 notice is given to you by a traffic officer, usually for a moving violation. It has a court date on it. A Section 341 notice is sent to a motorist by post for violations caught on traffic camera or for traffic tickets issued in absence of the motorists (for example, for an expired licence disk). It does not have a court date on it but is a first notice before summons. The Traffic Department will issue a second notice before actually issuing the summons.

What happens to people who do not pay their traffic fines?

If you don't pay or contest your traffic fine by the due date and do not appear in court to present your case, a warrant for your arrest will automatically be issued when the case goes to court.

Is corruption a contributing factor?

According to the Road Accident Fund, up to an estimated R500 million per annum that could be used to compensate claimants was in fact lost to fraud and corruption. In 2012 Statistics SA reported that more than 150 000 drivers in Johannesburg alone are asked to pay bribes annually.

Corruption watch published some of the testimonies where motorists were asked for a bribe by metro police. “I was on my way 2 Sandton & I was stopped & accused by JMPD traffic officers for overtaking in a barrier line. I was told that the fine is R800 but if I give them R100 they'll let me go. I was left with no option but to give them my last R100.”


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