Traffic Fines Management company Fines4U (Pty) Ltd has been awarded a judgment against the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, ordering the JMPD to stop violating the rights of the company by abusing and interfering with processes under the AARTO Act.
In November 2012, Burger Attorneys, on behalf of Fines4U and Vaal Car Hire filed an application citing five illegally served AARTO infringement notices sent by the JMPD and the ensuing illegal actions taken by the JMPD. The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Road Traffic Infringement Agency, Minister of Transport and Minister of Police were cited as respondents.
Only the JMPD and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality decided to oppose the application and in December 2012, the JMPD cancelled the five infringement notices in a clear attempt to render the application moot. The matter was heard in the South Gauteng High Court on 29 January 2014 and judgment was reserved.
Justice Andre Gautschi awarded judgment in favour of Fines4U and Vaal Car Hire, with costs against the Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality and Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department on 25 February 2014.
In his judgement, Justice Andre Gautschi ruled that a proxy for a juristic entity is entitled to elect to be tried in court under AARTO and affirmed that he appointment of representations officers in the employ of the JMPD up to 22 December 2012 was unlawful and in direct contravention of the AARTO Act and a determination of the Minister of Transport.
“This judgment shows that despite taking a long time and requiring significant financial investment, justice does prevail if you have the guts and determination to go the distance, not to mention the funds to invest in good legal arguments,” said Howard Dembovsky, chairman of Justice Project South Africa.
“We congratulate Fines4U for showing the moral fortitude to not simply roll over and let the threats of the JMPD force them into capitulating to unfair and illegal practices,” he concluded.
National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC)