The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has reportedly issued a countrywide instruction that all outstanding traffic fines should be cancelled.
These are the traffic fines issued in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act and the NPA has instructed that they should be cancelled after 18 months if no summons have been issued.
Moneyweb reports the instruction will apply countrywide to individuals and proxies representing companies.
The NPA’s instruction, however, excludes fines issued in terms of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act, which applies to Tshwane and Johannesburg Metropolitan areas.
If summons have been issued and the alleged transgressor fails to appear in court resulting in a warrant of arrest, the warrant lasts for two years from the date of issue and if not executed within the same period, it should also be cancelled.
Cornelia van Niekerk, owner of Fines4U – a company which administers traffic fines on behalf of 500 companies and 8 000 individuals – told the publication that outstanding and historical fines pose a huge risk, especially for fleet-owners.
Anton Burger from Burger Attorneys told Moneyweb that the instruction the NPA issued on 17 August will standardise the approach to historical fines countrywide.
He said he has recently seen summons being issued for an infringement that occurred five years ago, although while some jurisdictions were doing exactly what the NPA directs.
The NPA said in its letter to all directors of public prosecution that these measures are aimed at avoiding backlogs and ensuring adherence to the constitutional right to a speedy trial.
According to Burger, the 18-month and two-year limits in terms of the instruction are still too long. He said in criminal trials, attorneys will start raising objections to further postponements of trials.