Spring Day kicks-off with alleged illegal intimidation tactics by traffic cops

Spring Day equates to an incredibly busy 24-hours in the minds of anyone who works in the crime prevention or medical services sector, but it’s not usually an especially trying day for your average citizen of eMalahleni.

All of this changed on September 1, when the usual calm felt by the residents of eMalahleni was interrupted by a roadblock set up on Mandela Street, close to Highveld Mall.

Not only was the pace of Spring Day affected by the crawling traffic trying to navigate its way on this incredibly busy road with only a single lane kept open for cars to pass through, but many citizens claim that they fell victim to intimidation and harassment from the traffic police who were operating the roadblock.

Concerned citizens who had approached WITBANK NEWS allege that after being stopped by the traffic police at this specific roadblock, the traffic police allegedly immediately checked to see if the vehicle had any outstanding fines relating to it.

Many of the residents of eMalahleni who were pulled over did have outstanding fines, mostly from the speeding cameras on Mandela Street and OR Tambo Road, however many were allegedly unaware that they had even been issued these fines because they allegedly had yet to receive notification of them.

ALSO READ

New speeding cameras in eMalahleni – friend or foe?

New speeding camera woes? Here’s how to get rid of them

The traffic police, at this particular Spring Day roadblock, allegedly threatened to arrest many of the drivers who they had pulled over, and who had fines which traced back to their vehicles, if they did not pay the full amount owed due to the fines to the traffic department immediately. Some motorists were allegedly faced with the threat of paying upwards of R3 000 on the spot to avoid spending the weekend in jail.

One motorist alleged that, to his shock, he found out he had outstanding fines amounting to R9 000 after being pulled over at this particular roadblock. This motorist alleges that the police took his license and allegedly commanded him to bring the R9 000 cash back to the roadblock in order to have his license returned to him.

“They said if we didn’t pay immediately, we’d be in jail until Monday,” one of those affected stated, “they made it very clear that a weekend in the cells would not be something we’d come off well of.”

Many citizens complied, paying the traffic police who had allegedly made these threats hundreds, if not thousands of rands, on the spot.
Little did these victims of alleged intimidation know that the alleged conduct of the traffic police was entirely illegal, should the allegations prove true.


Journalist Aimee-Lee Verster, one of the nefarious speeding cameras and a criminal procedure handbook. The rules of criminal procedure regulate when, where and how an arrest may take place.

The police can not arrest you, or any one else, at a roadblock for outstanding fines unless a warrant for your arrest has been issued for those specific fines. If the officer is not able to present you with this warrant, he is taking you into custody illegally.

The police can, if they pull you over at a roadblock and find you have outstanding fines, issue you with summons to appear in traffic court no earlier than 14 days after the summons were issued (excluding Sundays and public holidays).

Those issued with summons will have to attend traffic court, which is held on the second floor of eMalahleni’s Magistrate’s Court every Thursday, to argue their case. Certain fines may be squashed by the traffic court, such as those issued with insufficient evidence like those that were delivered without a photograph of the offending vehicle attached, or for any other reason which the court might deem renders the fine null and void, or mitigates the circumstances under which the fine was received.

Be aware that when offered the opportunity to sign an admission of guilt after summons have been issued to avoid having to attend court, you are often doing more harm than good by agreeing to sign.

“Signing an admission of guilt is the same as pleading guilty” stated attorney, Mr Jaco le Roux.

Having a criminal record may be a blemish on your criminal record that can affect your chances of getting a visa for holiday or immigration purposes, as well as your future employment prospects.

If you were taken into custody due to unpaid fines without a warrant on Spring Day, please be aware that you are within your rights to approach your local attorney and to open a case of unlawful arrest and detention against the Police Department.

A similar case of unlawful arrest at a roadblock due to outstanding fines was heard in 2008 in the High Court of South Africa, Witwatersrand Local Division; in this case the court awarded the plaintiff, Mr David van Rensburg, R75 000 in damages for the weekend he spent in jail after being arrested at a roadblock without a warrant for his arrest having been issued.

Emalahleni Local Municipality was approached and an interview pertaining to the speeding cameras was requested, however at the time of publication they have yet to respond.

  AUTHOR
Aimee-Lee Verster

Latest News

COMMENTS

Top
Recommended Story x
Taking one step at a time, definitely not for thieves

Thanks for your referral. We have no doubt your friends will love our newsletter as much as you!

Don't forget to verify your email.

to our FREE newsletter
SUBSCRIBE to our FREE newsletter.




SELECT your titles:

Middelburg Observer
Witbank News


Get regular news updates sent directly to your inbox.

Your source of local breaking news and trending stories from across the country.

Be a part of our growing community

1MILFacebook Fans
98KTwitter Followers
5MILMonthly Readers
12MILArticles Published Every Month
72Local Community Websites

SUBSCRIBE to our FREE newsletter

SELECT your titles:

Middelburg Observer
Witbank News

Get regular news updates sent directly to you inbox.

Your source of local breaking news and trending stories from across the country.

Be a part of our growing community

Subscribe Here
1MILFacebook Fans
98KTwitter Followers
5MILMonthly Readers
12MILArticles Published Every Month
72Local Community Websites
Your details:


Your friends: