In South Africa, as in most other countries in the world, speed restrictions are determined and regulated by legislation. It then remains the duty and responsibility of every driver of a motor vehicle to make himself / herself aware of what the speed limit is in the area where he / she is driving.
If a driver exceeds this prescribed limit, he / she may be pulled over and fined by a traffic officer. The amount of this fine will depend on the extent to which the limit has been exceeded. In cases where the speed limit was exceeded by 40km / h or more, the driver of the vehicle may be arrested and brought before a court without a fine being imposed.
In instances where a fine is determined and issued, the driver is allowed a period of time to pay the fine or alternatively to appear before the relevant court to state reasons why he / she believes there to be a legitimate reason why the speed limit was exceeded and why he / she should therefore not be liable to pay the fine, or to apply for a reduction of the fine amount.
Should a person not pay the fine or fail to appear before the court on the prescribed court date, the court may issue a warrant for that person's arrest. This warrant is then circulated on the traffic authority system and an offender runs the risk of being arrested at a roadblock in execution of this warrant. Furthermore, when the driver / owner of the vehicle that incurred the fine, applies for the renewal of his / her vehicle license, the outstanding fine may appear on the system and prevent the license from being issued.
In cases where a fine is imposed by means of a speed camera and not by a traffic official personally, a person may, after being subpoenaed to appear in court, challenge and argue the validity and / or legality of that specific fine and have it tested in court.
It is never wise to ignore a traffic fine, or to simply throw it out of the car window. In fact, it is better to keep to the prescribed speed limit, as violating the speed limit does not only endanger the driver's own safety but also that of other motorists and pedestrians.
For more information please contact Ferdi Scheepers on 044 601 9900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.