Compounding Of Certain Minor Traffic Offences


How does compounding for certain minor offences work in South Africa?


In respect of section 341 of the Criminal Procedure Act, the process of compounding allows you to avoid prosecution for certain minor offences by paying a set fine. 

Compounding applies if you receive a written notification from a peace officer alleging you committed a minor offence such as:

  • driving a vehicle at a speed exceeding a prescribed limit; 
  • driving a vehicle which does not bear prescribed lights, or any prescribed means of identification; 
  • leaving or stopping a vehicle at a place where it may not be left or stopped, or leaving a vehicle in a condition in which it may not be left; 
  • driving a vehicle at a place where and at a time when it may not be driven; 
  • driving a vehicle which is defective or any part whereof is not properly adjusted, or causing any undue noise by means of a motor vehicle; 
  • owning or driving a vehicle for which no valid licence is held; 
  • driving a motor vehicle without holding a licence to drive it. 

This notification will specify the offence, location, date/time, and the amount of the fine a court would likely impose.

You will then have 30 days from receiving the notification to pay the fine amount to the magistrate of the district where the offence occurred.

If you pay within 30 days, you will not be prosecuted for the offence and the money paid is treated as a fine for the offence.

In regard to, an alternative for local authority offences, if the offence is related to the jurisdiction of a local authority, you can pay the fine directly to the local authority instead of the magistrate. The local authority then forwards the payment and notification to the magistrate and if the local authority charged you more than the standard fine amount, the magistrate will notify them and you’ll receive a refund for the difference.

The amount of the compounding fine for each offence is determined by the magistrate for the specific area and may differ from the standard admission of guilt fine. To succeed in court, it is important for both the device and human element to be proved unreliable.

The concept of compounding offers a streamlined and cost-effective way to resolve minor offences in South Africa. By paying the designated fine within the timeframe, you can avoid the hassle and potential consequences of a court case.

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