eNatis is not to blame

By Siyabonga Africa, ITWeb junior journalist
Johannesburg, 12 Nov 2008

The electronic National Traffic Information System (eNatis) cannot be held liable for the Beaufort West municipality's loss of R40 million in outstanding traffic fines, because it is not responsible for incorrect or invalid addresses, says the Tasima Consortium.

Tasima states the onus is on vehicle owners and drivers to update their postal details where traffic fines are sent.

The traffic management system, which was created by Tasima, is implicated by Traffic Environment Services and Technologies (Test) in an application to prevent Test's liquidation due to incorrect addresses in its database. The company fingered eNatis as being the responsible party for its inability to collect overdue traffic fines, which in turn forced it to hire a third-party.

Test claims, in the papers it filed with the High Court, it was contracted to collect more than 128 000 outstanding fines, to the value of R40 million, for the Beaufort West municipality. These were fines of motorists who didn't receive the eNatis notice of a traffic fine, because they gave an incorrect address or didn't update their details when they changed.

Test is opposing an application for its liquidation lodged by the firm of attorneys, Munnik Basson Dagama Incorporated, which it had contracted to collect the overdue fines it had difficulty with finding due to the incorrect records on eNatis. The firm alleges Test is in arrears and owes it R1.15 million in collection fees, but Test denies this and has asked the Cape High Court to dismiss the application.

Tasima spokesman Philip van der Merwe says eNatis records only the information that is provided by vehicle owners and drivers, meaning it can't provide information that it doesn't have. “According to regulation 52, of the National Road Traffic Regulations, it is the duty of a vehicle's title holder, or owner, to notify the relevant registering authority of any change of particulars, including his or her address,” he explains.

Van der Merwe is adamant the system cannot be held responsible for the fact that a notice cannot be delivered as a result of an owner providing a false address, or failing to update his or her address as required. In the end, the issue is one of law enforcement and this does not fall in eNatis's ambit, he says.

AARTO to the rescue

Tasima states the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) process, which eNatis falls under, will provide additional support to law enforcement by ensuring vehicle owners constantly update their contact details.

“The process will discourage owners from not informing authorities of a change in their address details. Should they fail to do so, additional penalty points and demerits will be added, which may ultimately result in driving licence suspension,” Van der Merwe explains.

AARTO is a points system, launched in July this year, which uses eNatis to reward and punish motorists for their behaviour on and off the roads. Motorists are punished with demerits, which can accumulate to a suspension and ultimately the cancellation of a driver's licence. Good behaviour is rewarded with discounts on promptly paid fines and also extra points.

Related stories:
eNatis tops 14m transactions
eNatis shows progress
Tech to curb Gauteng road deaths
AARTO nightmare looms