Justice Project South Africa has warned motorists that they should avoid taking instructions from ‘car guards’ – specifically during events.
In July, motorists who had attended a live event at Emmerentia Dam in Johannesburg had parked their car on a side road under the instruction of a car guard who had been wearing a reflective vest.
The ‘guard’ demanded a R50 parking fee – which is a common occurrence at such events across the country. However, the family returned to find their car had been impounded for parking illegally, and were forced to pay R2,800 to have their car returned to them.
“While the AARTO Act prescribes various fine amounts for ‘illegal parking’ there is nothing which prohibits a traffic authority from towing a vehicle which is regarded to constitute an obstruction or danger to other traffic,” said JPSA head, Howard Dembovsky.
“Since the JMPD is one of the City of Johannesburg’s self-confessed revenue-generation mechanisms, it stands to reason that they would opt to tow as many vehicles as possible and impound them for such infractions, given the fact that the owner thereof has no choice but to immediately pay if they want their vehicle released.”
According to Dembovsky, car guards have absolutely no authority in terms of South African law to instruct motorists to do anything – least of all park their vehicles.
“Only formally appointed parking attendants in pre-demarcated parking zones have the ‘authority’ to demand up-front payment for ‘pay and display’ parking, etc,” Dembovsky said.
“While it is completely true and valid to say that the JMPD should take care not to allow illegitimate ‘car guards’ to operate at public events at which the JMPD is present, it is sadly also true to say that they generally don’t and all motorists are bound by the provisions of the National Road Traffic Act and its Regulations.”
Dembovsky urged motorists to abide by traffic legislation, and not allow themselves to be conned by ‘official-looking’ car guards. Motorists should note:
- Whether or not it is accompanied by a properly posted road traffic sign, a yellow painted edge line means “no parking”;
- A red painted edge line means “no stopping”;
- Parking on any sidewalk is also prohibited.
The JPSA head said motorists should never follow the instructions and/or directions given to them by car guards where it is clearly apparent that parking is prohibited – or run the risk of facing steep fines.