8/3/2006South Africa: Innocent Motorists Receive Speed Camera Tickets
Thousands of South African motorists are at risk of receiving speed camera fines even though they were not speeding.
As many as 20,000 motorists in the Tshwane, South Africa are at risk of being accused by speed cameras of crimes they did not commit, according to Metro Police officials. The city has a population of 2.2 million.
One recent speed camera victim, Jansen van Vuuren was fine R500 (US $73) for driving 128km/h (80 MPH) in a 100km/h (62 MPH) zone. A dozen family members and friends can verify that she was having lunch with them 30 miles away at the time and date printed on the citation.
After van Vuuren requested and received a copy of the photograph of the alleged offense, it was obvious that her Toyota Verso, which is a different color, was not responsible. Informed of this, officials insisted she still had to pay a reduced fine of R150. Days later another camera ticket showed up insisting that she pay R350 for driving 141km/h (87 MPH) in a 120km/h (74 MPH) zone in Pinetown on March 19. Pinetown police claimed an "in-depth investigation" showed van Vuuren would have to pay up.
"Even when I sent the different traffic departments proof that I was not driving in the areas they refused to believe me," van Vuuren told the Pretoria News.
Van Vuuren's case was not isolated. Desmond Modiba was fined R650 (US $94) for speeding at 210km/h in a town he had never visited. At the date given on the ticket, he was in London, UK. Despite the evidence, officials refused to drop the fine.
Tracey Nottingham was fined R350 for speeding in Butterworth, even though at the time claimed on the ticket she was attending a funeral in Pretoria.
"It is physically impossible for me to have been driving in the Butterworth area at that time," Nottingham told the Pretoria News. "I will not pay the fine. It is that simple."