This is how fines under the AARTO system work

 ·14 Oct 2023

The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act is expected to start rolling out nationwide in the next year, bringing with it a host of changes for drivers in South Africa.

Key among the coming changes is a new driving demerit system which will see road users punished for stepping outside the laws while driving – or even beyond.

The system will penalise drivers and operators of motor vehicles who are guilty of traffic or road infringements through a system of demerit points, which may result in the suspension or cancellation of driving licences.

This, in no way, absolves motorists from the responsibility of paying speeding fines that are lawfully issued to them.

You can get one of two kinds of fines, regardless of the traffic violation:

  • (1) A Section 56 notice is given to you by a traffic officer, usually for a moving violation. It has a court date on it.
  • (2) A Section 341 notice is sent to a motorist by post for violations caught on traffic cameras or for traffic tickets issued in the absence of the motorists (for example, for an expired licence disc). It does not have a court date on it but is a first notice before summons. The Traffic Department will issue a second notice before summons before actually issuing the summons.

It is important to understand the major differences between AARTO and fines issued by local or provincial authorities. In the latter cases, the fines are dealt with as criminal matters through the courts, while AARTO decriminalises speeding and makes it an administrative procedure.

In the former case, you are innocent until proven guilty, but under AARTO, you are guilty until you prove your innocence.

AARTO has been in force in Johannesburg and Pretoria for more than 10 years – without the driving licence demerit penalties – but things will be changing from next year with the official rolling out of AARTO nationwide.

Considering this, Suzuki outlined the processes and steps of fines under the AARTO Act, which are listed below.

Step 1 – Infringement Notice

Minor and major infringements are dealt with in accordance with the administrative procedures as prescribed in the AARTO Act.

If a person is alleged to have committed an infringement, the traffic officer will issue an Infringement Notice.

Hand-written infringement notices are handed out by traffic officers and will eventually be replaced by electronic devices.

Camera infringements are electronically generated by eNatis and sent by mail. At this point, the fine amount has a 50% discount attached if paid within 32 days.

Step 2 – Courtesy letter

A courtesy letter is mailed if the fine is not paid within the first 32 days that the infringement notice is issued. At this point, the full amount must now be paid, plus administration fees. Failure to comply with the requirements of the Courtesy Letter will result in the issuing of an Enforcement Order.

Step 3 – Enforcement Order

By failing to comply with the Courtesy Letter or appearing in court after electing to appear in court, an offender will be issued an Enforcement Order by mail.

Failure to comply with the requirements of the Enforcement Order within 32 days will result in a Warrant being issued to recover the applicable penalty and fees.

Until such time as the penalty and the additional fees have been paid, no driving licence, professional driving permit, or vehicle licence disc will be issued that is registered in your name until the Enforcement Order has been complied with or revoked.

Step 4 – Warrant of Execution

If the Enforcement Order is not complied with within 32 days, a Warrant will be issued and handed to a Sheriff for execution. This may include seizing your movable property, defacing your driving licence and licence disc, or reporting you to a credit bureau.

For more information on how to query your fine, pay your fine, going to court, and more fine-related topics, visit

For the remainder of the country, the fines are either Municipal or Provincial, depending on the road being travelled at the time.

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