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You Can Be Arrested For These Traffic Offences

Are traffic officers empowered to arrest you for the 9 traffic offences listed by RTMC CEO advocate Makhosini Msibi?

The Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) does not agree and JPSA chairman Howard Dembovsky responded to Msibi’s announcement, saying that it was reckless for a person of his seniority to be making such outrageous, emotional statements.

To clarify things, the following road traffic offences are offences for which you can be arrested which appear in the list of “nine”:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs having a narcotic effect;
  • Exceeding the speed limit by more than 30km/h in an urban area or more than 40km/h outside of an urban area or on a freeway;
  • Reckless or negligent driving. Overtaking on a “barrier line” (no—overtaking line) in the face of oncoming traffic as well as disregarding a red traffic signal could be interpreted to be both, reckless and negligent but both have admission of guilt fines attached to them; and
  • Not displaying any number plates on your motor vehicle. Motorcycles and trailers, for example need only display one number plate on the rear of the vehicle.

Full Press Release by the Justice Project of South Africa

Why is RTMC threatening people with arrest?

JOHANNESBURG – It is being widely reported yesterday that the CEO of the RTMC, Advocate Makhosini Msibi has, at a media conference purporting to be an update on road safety whereat the current festive season death toll was not reported on, chosen to threaten people with arrest for many road traffic offences for which arrest is not permitted.

At the outset, it must be noted that JPSA is not anti-traffic law enforcement, nor does it seek to defend the actions of delinquent road users. Quite the opposite in fact; JPSA is very much in favour of proper physical and visible policing but we simply cannot allow the CEO’s clearly misinformed assertions to go unchallenged.

Apparently Advocate Makhosini Msibi told journalists that officers would be exercising “zero tolerance” and that motorists would be arrested for the following offences:

·         Driving without a licence;

·         Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs;

·         Failing to wear a seatbelt;

·         Using an unroadworthy vehicle;

·         Using an unregistered vehicle or having an expired licence disc;

·         Exceeding the speed limit;

·         Overtaking on a barrier line;

·         Driving though a red traffic light;

·         Not having number plates on each end of the vehicle.

The so-called list of “9 traffic offences that will land you behind bars this festive season” is misleading at best and closely resembles the threats of the unlawful roadside driving licence cancellations threatened by the former Acting CEO, Collins Letsoalo and former transport minister, S’bu Ndebele during their tenure.

It is reckless for a person of the seniority of CEO of the RTMC to be making such outrageous, emotional statements, lest some traffic officers take his assertions seriously. Traffic officers are granted limitedpowers under law in effecting arrests without a warrant and acting any differently would definitely provide people with an opportunity to lodge civil claims against the traffic authorities and the officers who arrest them for offences for which arrest is not prescribed.

To clarify things, the following road traffic offences are offences for which you can be arrested which appear in the list of “nine”:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs having a narcotic effect;
  • Exceeding the speed limit by more than 30km/h in an urban area or more than 40km/h outside of an urban area or on a freeway;
  • Reckless or negligent driving. Overtaking on a “barrier line” (no—overtaking line) in the face of oncoming traffic as well as disregarding a red traffic signal could be interpreted to be both, reckless and negligent but both have admission of guilt fines attached to them; and
  • Not displaying any number plates on your motor vehicle. Motorcycles and trailers, for example need only display one number plate on the rear of the vehicle.

While there are other offences for which no admission of guilt fine is permissible and people committing them may be arrested and must appear in court, these are the ones the CEO referred to. Traffic officers are however not empowered to arrest anyone for any of the other offences in the list and in particular, the CEO’s assertion that a person may be arrested for not wearing a seatbelt is simply outrageous.

As much as we all wish that we could convince everyone in motor cars, bakkies, trucks, minibuses (including taxis) and buses to wear seatbelts in the interests of their own safety, threatening them with arrest for not doing so is bizarre at best and the CEO is either grossly misinformed about the powers traffic officers have, or he is attempting to employ similar scare tactics to those employed by his predecessor which tactics have repeatedly proven themselves to be totally ineffective.

Similarly, failing to display a current licence disc on your vehicle’s windscreen is not an offence for which you may be arrested and nor is forgetting to carry your driving licence with you.

Referring to arrest as “inconveniencing people” is simply untenable and constitutes a gross violation of the Bill of Rights under the Constitution. Being a so-called “advocate”, the CEO should be acutely aware of this, as should all of the traffic chiefs he had on display at his media conference.

Below is a list of the AARTO infringements and offences as appears in Schedule 3 of the AARTO Regulations, 2008 currently in force. Criminal offences thereunder are marked in red. Whilst it is true that the AARTO Act is only in force in the Cities of Johannesburg and Tshwane, and fines under the Criminal Procedure Act in force elsewhere in the country will differ, whether or not arrest is sanctioned cannot differ because the Constitution enshrines equality before the law. 

Charge Code Description I/O Fine (R) Points
1702 Operated a vehicle without an A1 code driving licence issued to him or
her, or of any document deemed to be a driving licence  – Sect. 12(a)
I R 1 250.00 4
1703 Operated a vehicle without an A code driving licence issued to him or
her, or of any document deemed to be a driving licence  – Sect. 12(a)
I R 1 250.00 4
1704 Operated a vehicle without a B code driving licence issued to him or
her, or of any document deemed to be a driving licence  – Sect. 12(a)
I R 1 250.00 4
1705 Operated a vehicle without a C1 code driving licence issued to him or
her, or of any document deemed to be a driving licence  – Sect. 12(a)
I R 1 250.00 4
1706 Operated a vehicle without a C code driving licence issued to him or
her, or of any document deemed to be a driving licence  – Sect. 12(a)
I R 1 250.00 4
1707 Operated a vehicle without a EB an code driving licence issued to him or
her, or of any document deemed to be a driving licence  – Sect. 12(a)
I R 1 250.00 4
1708 Operated a vehicle without an EC1 code driving licence issued to him or
her, or of any document deemed to be a driving licence  – Sect. 12(a)
I R 1 250.00 4
1709 Operated a vehicle without an EC code driving licence issued to him or
her, or of any document deemed to be a driving licence  – Sect. 12(a)
I R 1 250.00 4
1710 Operated a motor vehicle whilst he or she did not keep a driving licence,
or document or any other prescribed authorization, in the said vehicle
– Sect. 12(b)
I R 500.00 1
5603 Operated a vehicle while under the influence of
intoxicating liquor or a drug having a narcotic effect  – Sect. 65(1)(a)
O R 0.00 6
5604 Occupied the driver’s seat whilst the engine was running and whilst
under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a
drug having a narcotic effect  – Sect. 65(1)(b)
O R 0.00 6
2860 Failed to ensure that a child used rear seat equipped with a seatbelt
– Reg. 213(7)
I R 250.00 0
2850 Driver did not ensure that all persons were wearing seat belts
– Reg. 213(11)
I R 250.00 0
2852 Minibus exceeding 2500kg not fitted with seat belts for
driver or passenger.  – Reg. 213(3)(b)
I R 500.00 1
2858 Adult occupied seat not fitted with a seat belt whilst other
seats did have a seat belt  – Reg. 213(5)
I R 250.00 0
2203 Failed to comply
with the directions of traffic officer or examiner of vehicles that the
said vehicle is unroadworthy and not to be used on a public road. Non­RWC
– Sect. 44(1) 
I R 750.00 2
1250 Vehicle that was not registered and licensed or not licensed
– Reg. 36(3)(a)
I R 1 000.00 3
1238 Operated a
vehicle without displaying the licence disc of said vehicle
– Reg. 36(1)
I R 250.00 0
4047 Failed to comply
with the directions conveyed by a road traffic mark by crossing the no
overtaking markings. Non­RWC  – Sect. 58(1) 
I R 500.00 1
4048 Failed to comply with the directions conveyed by a road
traffic mark by crossing the no overtaking markings. RWC  – Sect. 58(1)
I R 750.00 2
4092 Not comply with
direction of a traffic signal : steady red disc light signal. Non­RWC
– Sect. 58(1) 
I R 500.00 1
4095 Pedal Cyclist, rickshaw driver or animal drawn vehicle not comply with
direction of a traffic signal : steady red disc light signal
– Sect. 58(1)
I R 100.00 0
4100 Not comply with the direction of traffic signal : steady red
bus light signal  – Sect. 58(1)
I R 750.00 2
4102 Not comply with the direction of traffic signal : steady red
tram light signal  – Sect. 58(1)
I R 750.00 2
4141 Not comply with road traffic sign : steady red pedal cycle light signal
– Sect. 58(1)
I R 100.00 0
5600 Operated a vehicle recklessly  – Sect. 63(1) O R 0.00 6
4506 Operated a vehicle at a speed of 100+ km/h which is in excess of the
general speed limit of 60 km/h which is
applicable to that urban road  – Sect. 59(4)(a)
O R 0.00 6
4513 Operated a vehicle at a speed of 160+ km/h which is in excess of the
general speed limit of 120 km/h which is
applicable to a freeway  – Sect. 59(4)(a)
O R 0.00 6
4520 Operated a vehicle at a speed of 140+ km/h which is in excess of the
general speed limit of 100 km/h which is applicable to that rural road
– Sect. 59(4)(a)
O R 0.00 6
4527 Operated a vehicle at a speed of 140+ km/h which is in excess of the
speed limit of 100 km/h as was indicated in
the prescribed manner on a road traffic sign  – Sect. 59(4)(b)
O R 0.00 6
4534 Operated a vehicle at a speed of 160+ km/h which is in excess of the
speed limit of 120 km/h as was indicated in
the prescribed manner on a road traffic sign  – Sect. 59(4)(b)
O R 0.00 6
4541 Operated a vehicle at a speed of 80+ km/h which is in excess of the
speed limit of 40 km/h as was indicated in
the prescribed manner on a road traffic sign  – Sect. 59(4)(b)
O R 0.00 6
4548 Operated a vehicle at a speed of 100+ km/h which is in excess of the
speed limit of 60 km/h as was indicated in
the prescribed manner on a road traffic sign  – Sect. 59(4)(b)
O R 0.00 6
4555 Operated a vehicle at a speed of 120+ km/h which is in excess of the
speed limit of 80 km/h as was indicated in
the prescribed manner on a road traffic sign  – Sect. 59(4)(b)
O R 0.00 6
NB: If the fine value is 0 and the I/O reads “O” then this is a criminal offence and no fine has been set for this offence. It requires a court appearance. Typically sentences and fines set by a magistrates for these offences will also carry a criminal record if you are found, plead or admit to being guilty of this offence. Magistrates may also sentence offenders to a jail term, correctional supervision etc.
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