We would like to share the following question raised with the Arrive Alive website and the response received from Justice Project South Africa:
Good Day, I have a friend who was stopped at the airport on his way to an overseas holiday regarding some very old overdue fines.
He asked me to try find out if he will be given a chance to pay the full amount at the OR Tambo airport on his return, or if he will be detained and taken to Newcastle to pay the fines where they occured? Please could you advise me on this? Thank you.
Please hear me when I say that this is a very serious matter that I suggest you get onto straight away. The reason I say this is that three Saturday’s ago I got a call from a very distraught lady whose husband had been arrested at OR Tambo International Airport on their return from their son’s wedding in the USA. Why, I hear you ask? Well because of an outstanding fine that dated back to 2007 for which he had allegedly not received a summons but had nonetheless missed the trial date and a warrant of arrest was issued by the Ladysmith Magistrates court for his R100 fine he had not paid or appeared in court for.
To cut a long story short, he spent the entire weekend in police custody, in cells in Johannesburg, in the back of a police van being transported to Ladysmith and in cells in Ladysmith before appearing in court the following Monday.
A warrant of arrest is a warrant of arrest, and there is no question of bail on it once you have been arrested on the grounds of a warrant of arrest.
I strongly recommend that you contact Newcastle traffic authorities and establish if these are just outstanding fines or if there is one or more warrant of arrest in existence. If there are any warrants, get them settled as quickly as possible and get the court to withdraw the warrants and send your friend proof thereof immediately. Otherwise, tell him to apply for permanent residence wherever he has gone or he will be nailed on his return
If they are simply section 341 notices then he may not be arrested but must deal with them on his return.
National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC)
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