The Truth Behind Speeding Fines in South Africa

Driving over the speed limit by 30km/h or 40km/h respectively can see you have your license revoked and very possibly arrested! But are the speeding limits always justified or are they there to pull in money for the traffic department? Law enforcement has started to take speeding a lot more seriously and it’s reflected in millions that the department is raking in on fine payments alone.

We have noticed over the past year that more and more roads are being dubbed with a limit of 60 or 70km per hour even when they are more like highways and not in rural areas. I’m sure you can think of a road that you drive on regularly where you say to yourself, “dammit surely this can’t be a 60 zone!”. Or 120km/h zones that all of a sudden turn into 80km/h for no reason at all. When was the last time you checked if you are paying too much for car insurance? Click below to do a 3-minute (no obligation) online quick quote and get over 9 instant quotes:Paying too much for your car insurance

Increase in Speeding Traps Revenue Scheme or Safety Provision?

Many believe that traffic fines alongside all other road offense fines in the Western Cape have been increased drastically as a result of the departments wanting to boost their revenue and bottom line.

“JMPD prosecutes speeding mostly because it is easy and profitable for them. Focusing more on stopping drivers and checking the roadworthiness of their cars, licences, and alcohol in system and their fitness to drive will save more lives than taking photographs of speeding cars for a revenue.” Says Howard Dembrovsky of the Justice Project.

Taking a closer look into the enforecement of traffic regulations and issuing of traffic tickets it seems to be a rather lucrative business with most municipalities relying on private companies to run the operations. These private companies offer a whole array of services such as speed cameras, private traffic officers, admin staff, handing of prosecution and the dreaded debt collection.

The expected revenue from fines is astounding, the City of Joburg’s medium term budget expects to generate R563 million in fines, penalties and forfeits in the current financial year.

“As with taxes, this item consists of unrequited, compulsory transactions. Thus, the recipient government unit does not provide anything in return for these receipts.”

The 2018/2019 budget stated that the City of Cape Town expects a revenue of 1.2 billion from this source of income, even small municipalities heavily rely on the income generated from fines ect. To give you an example the municipality of Potchefstroom budgeted to generate R85 million from fines and penalties in the 2018/2019 period.

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Strong-arming Citizens:

Some municipalities like George contract private companies for a few weeks at least once or twice a year to set up road blocks that uses number plate recognition camera’s and software. This software is linked to the municipality’s database and within seconds can tell you if that car has outstanding warrants. They stop the vehicle and a court prosecutor with arrest warrants and a police officer will escort you to the nearest ATM to either immediately pay the fine or face being arrested on the spot.

The Municipality of George usually conducts these road blocks towards the end of the year after citizens have recieved their bonuses which increases the likelyhood that they are able to pay and withdraw from the ATM.

Are Resources Being Spent Wisely?

Majority of fines are a result of speeding caught on traffic cameras and not from traffic cops actually out on the roads. Cameras are there as a deterrent but do they actually help keep roads safer? Cameras can’t stop a drunk or reckless driver. This has proven to be a financial boost for the department… no manpower needed at all.

The traffic department’s hope that if they increase the fine amounts and speeding traps that it will deter drivers from speeding and breaking the rules of the road. Wouldn’t having more visible traffic cops on the road in full force be a better option? You can drive away from a camera, but you can’t drive away from a traffic official.

So here we sit wondering is the government just trying to make money or are they actually trying to look after our safety. What do you think? 

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  1. Cobus Brink December 20, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Why is there a 10km/h grace for every speed limit but not for 100km/h?

  2. henry December 27, 2017 at 7:25 am

    it is always, and only, about the money .

    1. Stanley Grimsley December 31, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      The average speedometers in all vehicles are usually inaccurate, so probably the Traffic Authorities give the motorist the benefit of the doubt. Check your speed on your GPS – then check your vehicles speedometer.

  3. Eidel Bock December 30, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    The fact of the matter is. If you exceed the speed limits is it a criminal offence. That put you in the criminal category. Who give you the rite to put my family and others life in jeopardy when speeding…….

    1. Frans Visser December 31, 2017 at 7:24 am

      Eidel… Did you know that the German Autobahn, which has no speed limit, has fewer fatalities a year than there are in Guateng over an average Easter weekend? Did you know that most accidents involve Alcohol, and that most fatalities involve bakkies, trucks and taxis? Not vehicles given to driving in excess of 160km/h. Fact is, you drive through a number of speed traps a day, but may be pulled off for checking your alcohol and condition of your vehicle once a year – yet alcohol and unroadworthy vehicles are far more likely to cause an accident than mere speeding.

      1. Eidel Bock December 31, 2017 at 9:36 am

        I do listen and watch news on TV an printed media so I am well informed.

        1. Frans Visser January 8, 2018 at 8:09 am

          Eidel, I have no problem with the rules – if everybody followed them it would be fine. The problem is that the obsession with speeding fines is a cynical money making scheme. Because in studies it has been proven that increasing or decreasing the speed limit has very little impact on the number of accidents or the fatalities. (google the US study on road accidents – several states in the US dropped their speed imit and it had no impact on the accident or fatality rate) We need police to rather control things like unroadworthy vehicles, overloading, drunk driving and moving violations – I for one hate it when people drive on my ass – I am in the fast lane, doing the speed limit , and some guy in a SUV drives inside my exhaust. Yet not one such case is ever prosecuted…

      2. Riekert Liebenberg January 6, 2018 at 1:22 pm

        The problem with accidents where alcohol is involved is that the men drink and then let their sober wifes drive home. Hence all accidents.

    2. Pieter Porter January 3, 2018 at 9:30 pm

      Using your phone while driving is so much worse and also a criminal offence and no one cares about that. Compare accidents because of speed against accidents because of phone use while driving. You will be surprised

    3. Paul Booysen January 6, 2018 at 7:40 pm

      That’s is exactly why cops should be visible and patrolling. If I’m a dangerous driver and I see them I’ll slow down. If they hide behind a tree and take a picture of me I’ll keep on speeding and put you and yours in jeopardy.

  4. Eidel Bock December 31, 2017 at 9:35 am

    The excuses is the same if there is no argument it is a racial issue. You and other can post excuses till you are blue in the face. Rules are rules. Drunk driving, under influence is as bad as it get. Not to mention reckless driving. Go and defend it I court. You will come second an rightly so. No mercy

    1. Tebogo Kh January 11, 2018 at 12:11 pm

      please tell me if you can see that your car is doing 101/h if someone can show me how to see that then id say its an offence cars arent programmed to do a single speed this is money laundering from the government

  5. Paul Booysen January 6, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Using law enforcement as a tool to make the roads safer rather than an income generating opportunity is beyond them.

  6. Eidel Bock January 6, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    I would like to see a program on TV like Just Judy where the judge can and rip you apart when you protest with idiotic arguments why speeding is OK and speed fines are not and the rest of the stupid comments.

  7. Eidel Bock January 8, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    I do share your sentiment 100%. But you must also take cocnisance of the fact that speed traps are part and parcel of the process. What will happen if there are no speed traps…..

  8. Born in Africa January 9, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    Its all fair and well setting out speed traps, it is good but way short on the safety on the roads, there is one thing that the police will not do, which should be done and with a matter of urgency, is traffic lights and stop streets, these two have become a very big problem in that drivers do not respect / stop at these any more, the amount of accidents at intersection controlled by either of these is horrific, I have been sent flying across and intersection by a driver who thought that I was the same as him, but realized that I had actually stopped, to late to do anything…

  9. Dikmol January 15, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    As long as they do not look for tjotjo when they stop me i am all for it.

  10. oprol evorter September 9, 2019 at 10:54 am

    Simply wanna comment on few general things, The website style and design is perfect, the articles is real excellent : D.

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