Speed freaks and reckless drivers are getting away with breaking the rules of the road because the Department of Transport does not have the capacity to collect on the traffic fines it issues.

For the province to have collected less than fifty percent of all issued fines during the last three years shows a problem by the authorities to pursue traffic fine offenders. This non-performance sends a message to road users that fining and follow up is not a deterrent to motorists.

In response to a parliamentary question I asked the MEC for transport, it was revealed that out of the total of more R18, 6 million traffic fines issued in the province during the 2008/09 financial year, only R 8, 1 million was collected by the Department of Transport. The department was unable to supply concrete information of how many fines were issued in the 2009/10 financial year “due to some of the traffic offenders requesting to pay admission of guilt under the principal of deferred payment”.

It was further revealed that of the R9, 7 million in fines issued in Buffalo City from April-June this year, only R 1,575 million had been collected thus far. The rate in the Nelson Mandela Metro is equally woeful with only R6, 4 million of R 19, 8 million collected in the same period.

The Department of Transport has a legal obligation in terms of the Public Finance Management ACT (PMFA) to collect revenues owed to the department.

The lack of collection of fines puts pressure on the department budget and service delivery like more traffic education, patrols and the like are compromised due to lack of funding.

Furthermore, the persistent non-collection of fines compromises the lives of all road users in the province and places extra financial costs on the province when increased vehicle accidents are caused by on-going lawlessness on our roads.

What is needed is a strategy to improve revenue collection:

A streamlined system of fine payment, incentives for motorists to pay fines on time and privatisation of some of the processes will go some way to improving fine revenue collection in the province.

The sooner the Administrative Adjudication Road Traffic Offences Act (AARTO) where motorists have points deducted for traffic offences leading to suspension of their licence is implemented, the better.

I have written to MEC Ghishma Barry asking her what plans are in place to improve fine collection in the province and when the implementation of AARTO will take place so as to reduce deaths and injuries on our provincial roads as soon as possible.

For more information contact Dacre Haddon on 079 694 3788