'Stop fleecing, start policing!'
Say it with a sting.....
June 09 2009 at 09:32AM
By Laura Ashbaugh
A group of ex-policemen and angry motorists are taking on the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) over mobile traffic cameras because they claim they are illegally fining drivers.
"Ban the cam! Stop fleecing, start policing!" reads the bright yellow bumper stickers handed out by two groups leading the charge towards banning the cameras: the Scrutiny of Inequitable Traffic Enforcement (Site) and the Justice Project South Africa (JPSA).
"The JMPD, I'm afraid, is out of control and they need to be reeled in," Howard Dembovsky, of the JPSA, said on Monday. "These cameras are weapons of mass prosecution."
'These cameras are weapons of mass prosecution'
The group complains that the JMPD sets up cameras in locations where they have not received proper authorisation. In addition, they claim that poorly trained officers can "slip" while operating the sensitive laser cameras and cause a misreading of more than 40km/h.
Also, the group says it is often impossible to tell who is driving the cars because the photos are of poor resolution or taken of the rear of the car.
Mike Tanski, chairman of Site, said notifications are often mailed out more than a month after the offence, when it is too late to mount evidence for a defence.
"The constitution says that if you are accused of an offence, you can gather evidence for your defence, but you don't get the chance to do that if the notifications are given one month later," he said.
Tanski said that since Site was founded in 2000, they have received thousands of complaints from motorists.
'Your constitutional rights are being stomped on'
Site and JPSA recently launched a new website - www.greedfines.co.za - to solicit more complaints from motorists and offer help.
Once they raise enough money, Tanski and Dembovsky plan on taking their complaints all the way to the Constitutional Court.
Last year, thousands of speeding fines were cancelled after it was discovered that they were issued in unauthorised locations.
JMPD spokesman Wayne Minnaar said since then, officers have been very careful about where they set up the cameras.
Dembovsky said the JPSA is not advocating speeding, but proper enforcement. He suggested that instead of mobile cameras, the JMPD should install more accurate stationary cameras that are painted bright colours.
"If the stationary cameras were bright yellow and erected every 2km, no one would speed."
Dembovsky is ready for a confrontation. Armed with a stack of complaints and photos, he said his ultimate goal is to disband the JMPD.
"Motorists are being fleeced of their money by fraudulent means," he said.
"Your constitutional rights are being stomped on."
This article was originally published on page 3 of The Star on June 09, 2009
Comments by Sonny
According to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 'Entrapment" is
Most of the traps set up by traffic departments are illegal and if we do not oppose
our cases in court, we will keep on feeding corruption!
Most speed traps are in violation of our civil rights.
Labels: Speed traps illegal.