My company is thinking of making me the proxy for some of our motor vehicles. What does this entail. Will I be liable for fines and how will this affect me with regards to the new point system that is coming into play. For example, can they arrest me in a roadblock for outstanding fines?
The process of registering a natural person as the responsible person or “proxy” of a juristic person (company or other entity) is not at all complicated and merely involves the registration of that person in the national traffic register as the responsible person for that entity. Every company or other juristic person must have a responsible person who is ultimately responsible for dealing with licencing, roadworthiness, etc. as well as traffic fines issues.
As the responsible person or proxy of a juristic person it will be your responsibility to ensure that all provisions of the National Road Traffic Act and the AARTO Act are complied with and where they are not, that you assign the blame to the natural person who got caught committing an infringement. The most likely infringement that would be received in the post and addressed to the juristic person, with the proxy’s name and ID number also being on it would be a camera fine, since infringements or offences for which the driver is stopped for at the time of commission would be written up in the driver’s name at that time.
It is the duty and responsibility of someone in the company to control the use of company vehicles and maintain a register of who was driving what vehicle at what time and on what day and should an infringement notice arrive in the post for that particular vehicle. They are then required to complete and submit an AARTO 07 driver nomination form so that the infringement notice (fine) which will be automatically tripled in its value, may be cancelled in the name of the juristic person and re-issued to the physical driver concerned in their personal capacity.
The person who maintains this register is not always the proxy since some companies have fleet management staff who are not necessarily the proxy as well. Although keeping a register of the driver or person in control is not specifically mentioned in the AARTO Act, the infringement of “failing to obtain the particulars of a driver” prior to letting them exercise control over that vehicle does exist and, for the first time in traffic legislation in this country, you are required by legislation to record these details. It is also vital that the address details on record with eNatIS is 100% correct and up to date so that infringement notices etc. are delivered to you since the AARTO Act deems all notices that have been posted to the last known address of the infringer 10 days after posting by registered mail, whether it is collected or not.
Demerit points can never be applied to a proxy’s driving licence however they can and are applied to an operator card where this is in play. If your company operates vehicles in the classes of vehicle that require an operator’s card, then you will also be responsible for the functions that must be fulfilled with respect to an operator.
The question of arrest in roadblocks comes up over and over again and it never ceases to amaze me just how badly this practice has been abused and used to cause mass intimidation of all vehicle owners, not just proxies. In fact, this is the number one concern of almost every person who contacts us for clarity on traffic fines. It comes as a surprise to most, but there has never been any provision in the law for the arrest of anyone with respect to an outstanding traffic fine that has not progressed to a criminal summons and where the person who was summonsed has subsequently failed to appear in court on the designated court date.
Anyone who ignores a summons, whether lawfully served or not, cannot be thinking straight and/or must have total disrespect for the law and a desire to be arrested. The consequence of ignoring a summons is the immediate imposition of a contempt of court charge and most often, the issue of a warrant of arrest, which may indeed be executed at a roadblock, provided that the execution thereof complies with the Criminal Procedure Act.
Under the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act however, a warrant of arrest DOES NOT exist and therefore you can never be lawfully arrested at a roadblock with respect to an outstanding traffic fine. The AARTO Act completely replaces the Criminal Procedure Act in the administration of road traffic offences and as its name implies, traffic offences are administratively adjudicated, not tried in criminal courts. A warrant of execution as is referred to in the AARTO Act does not even remotely resemble a warrant of arrest, so please do not get confused.
It is my recommendation that you take the time to familiarise yourself with AARTO by visiting the AARTO facts website and in particular, going through the entire “AARTO explained” section which you can find at www.aartofacts.co.za.
National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa