South Africa’s speeding prosecution systems have been shown to be unreliable at the best of times.
A recent report stated the National Prosecution Authority in the Free State was withdrawing all criminal speeding cases which relied on evidence provided by the ProLaser 4 speed gun.
This has major ramifications for the entire country, with all cases involving the ProLaser 4 speed gun now in jeopardy.
These are not the only problems with the speed camera system, as recently discovered by a MyBroadband reader based in Port Elizabeth.
The reader received notification of a speeding fine he had incurred through the PayMyFines web portal but quickly discovered that it was not a legitimate offence.
The MyBroadband reader received a speeding fine which stated that he was travelling at 79km/h in a 60km/h zone, on Hex River Road between Graaff Reinet Road and Kanfer Street in Uitenhage.
The PayMyFines website stated that the offence had occurred at 14:38 on 11 June 2019, and the total amount due for the fine was R260.
A photo of the speeding vehicle was also included with the fine, which immediately tipped off the driver that something was amiss.
The photo included with the fine was of the driver’s vehicle, but it was the same image used in a previous fine incurred by the driver.
The background of the image showed the vehicle travelling in a built-up area, while the location specified by the fine was only near a single building.
The driver then examined his activity around the date and time of the alleged offence and found that he was nowhere near the location specified in the speeding fine.
Impossible to incur
On the day the fine was incurred, the driver was not in Uitenhage as alleged by the PayMyFines website, but was in fact broken down in Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth.
He called his insurance company to tow his vehicle and received a confirmation SMS which he provided to MyBroadband. The SMS was sent to his device at 13:40 on 11 June – one hour before the alleged offence was incurred.
The driver retraced his steps throughout the day and provided MyBroadband with his bank statement to confirm credit card payments at various locations far away from Uitenhage.
He also supplied a record of his movements on 11 June as catalogued by Google Maps through his smartphone’s GPS.
These movements matched up with the bank statements and placed the driver far away from the scene of the speeding offence at the time it was supposedly recorded.
The Google Maps record placed the MyBroadband reader at his home at 14:30 on 11 June, which is more than half an hour away from the scene of the speeding fine which was allegedly incurred at 14:38.
Look out for fine details
This case shows that while many legitimate fines are incurred on South African roads, it is always a good idea to check the details of your speeding fine to verify its legitimacy.
If you have location history enabled on Google Maps or another digital record of your movements, it can often be easy to check if you really were travelling through the area in question when a fine was incurred by your vehicle.
If the speeding fine listed for your vehicle is not legitimate, you can send a letter to your local traffic department to contest the veracity of the offence.
MyBroadband contacted PayMyFines for feedback on the speeding fine in question, but the company did not respond by the time of publication.