Guiding consumers since 2009

When can your licence disc be denied?

By Staff Writer
Reports claim that motorists are being denied their licence disc at renewal stage if they have outstanding e-tolls. Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) has stressed that this is against the law, as the necessary changes to legislation have not been implemented.
 
“The fact is that this legislative change will have to be published for public comment prior to enacting it and at that time, it will be vigorously challenged by JPSA,” highlighted JPSA.
 
However, the misinformation around why a licence disc will be denied doesn’t only surround e-tolls. JPSA revealed: “Some of it originates from licensing authorities who tell people that they must settle all of their traffic fines before they can get their licence disc, which is not true. [Counter] staff at the South African Post Office tend to send motorists into a flat spin by informing them that there is a warrant of arrest out for them.” (For a response from the Post Office, scroll down)
 
JPSA stated on its website: “The practice of withholding licence discs because of outstanding traffic fines issued under either the Criminal Procedure or Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act or unpaid e-tolls is unlawful.”
 
Howard Dembovsky, national chairman of JPSA, explained that when you are refused your licence disc renewal, it is the National Traffic Information System (eNaTIS), and not the clerk who is refusing to issue the disc.
 
Untruths dispelled
 
There are a number of untruths regarding when your licence disc renewal will be refused. Unfortunately, not many people know that some of the reasons that they are given for why their licence disc renewal has been denied do not hold water.
 
One of the common reasons that people cite for the refusal to print their licence disc is that there are outstanding fines against your name.
 
JPSA explained: “No motorist is compelled to admit guilt by paying any traffic fine, and therefore they do not have to “settle all of their fines” before they renew their licence disc. JPSA does however encourage members of the public to deal with their traffic fines timeously and before they reach a stage where they are adversely affected.”
 
Dembovsky emphasised that if a licence disc is printed, the clerk has to give it to you. However, there are conditions under which a licence disc will not be issued.
 
Reasons why your licence renewal will be denied
 
There are a handful of circumstances which may lead to the eNaTIS system automatically refusing to issue a licence disc. JPSA revealed that the reasons for a lawfully denied licence renewal are:
·         The existence of licensing arrears and penalties thereon for any vehicle, whether motorised or not, registered in the name of the motorist;
·         The lack of a roadworthy certificate where this is required;
·         The existence of an enforcement order issued under the AARTO Act; and
·         The existence of a warrant of arrest issued under the Criminal Procedure Act.
 
If your licence disc is denied, Dembovsky stressed: “No one should ever get into an argument with counter staff at licensing departments or the Post Office. Simply ask for an eNaTIS R114 statement and look for any of the conditions under which a licence disc may be withheld and sort those out.”
 
JPSA revealed that one of the most common reasons for “the refusal of any licensing transaction is the existence of an enforcement order issued under the AARTO Act.”
 
It added: “The Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), which previously failed to escalate infringement notices to courtesy letters and then to enforcement orders has been issuing enforcement orders at an alarming rate for at least the past four months and people who have become used to ignoring their traffic fines have found themselves falling foul of this.”
 
Even a single enforcement order against your name is enough for the eNaTIS system to not print a licence disc for any vehicle in the person’s name, whether or not the enforcement notice is for that specific vehicle.
 
It is possible to check for any enforcement orders or fines that are outstanding against your name on the AARTO website by selecting the ‘query my fines’ option.
 
“The most common mistake that people make is when they stop using a vehicle on public roads, in the false belief that they no longer need to pay licensing fees for such vehicles. The National Road Traffic Act requires any and all vehicles except a few vehicle classes to be both registered and licenced, whether or not they are used on a public road,” revealed JPSA on its website.
 
It added: “Another common cause of outstanding licensing fees and penalties thereon arising is when people sell their vehicles to other people and do not follow the prescribed procedures for doing so.  When you sell a motor vehicle, the current owner is required to complete and submit the eNaTIS form NCO (Notification of Change of Ownership) within 21 days of the sale.  What sellers typically do is that they complete this form, but instead of handing it into their licensing authority themselves, they hand it to the buyer, along with the form ALV (Application for Licensing of a Vehicle).”
 
The South African Post Office
 
JPSA noted that when renewing licencing discs at the Post Office, motorists are being informed that there is a warrant of arrest out for them, even when this is not necessarily the case.
 
When asked, Khulani Qoma, a spokesperson for the South Africa Post Office, explained: “For the renewal of motor vehicle licences, the SA Post Office uses eNaTIS terminals which display a message stating “outstanding fine due/warrant of arrest” if any traffic infringements are recorded against a specific vehicle and a licence disk cannot be printed. 
 
“The system is not able to provide the exact reason why the licence disk cannot be printed. The SA Post Office tellers are instructed to convey only the reasons provided by the eNaTIS system for each individual case.
 
“Motorists can obtain details of the alleged traffic infringements from their local traffic authorities.”
 
Motorists can renew their licence discs at licencing and traffic departments, as well as at a number of Post Office branches around the country. For a list of the Post Offices which offer licence disc renewals, click here, or you can call 0860 111 502.
 
However, there are no post offices that offer this service in the Western Cape. Johan Kruger, from the communications division of the South African Post Office, said: “Because vehicle licences are a provincial competency, we enter agreements with provincial governments for this. [We] offer the service in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Gauteng, Free State, Eastern Cape, and Northern Cape.”

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