In accordance with the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act, No. 46 of 1998 (AARTO), if a person commits a road traffic violation in terms of the National Road Traffic Act, No. 93 of 1996, such violation will be categorised as
- a traffic offence; or
- a minor infringement; or
- a major infringement.
A traffic offence is regarded as a very serious violation of the law, which warrants a major sentence on conviction, such as imprisonment, or a substantial monetary fine, or both.
Traffic offences will therefore still be dealt with in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977), which means an offender will be arrested, charged and the case will be placed on the role for a hearing in court.
Minor and major infringements mean offences categorised as such in terms of section 29(a) of the AARTO Act, detail of which is provided in the AARTO Regulations.
Traffic infringements will be 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.
Infringement Notices will initially be written by hand while electronic notices, generated by means of hand-held computers used by traffic officers at the roadside, will be phased in over a period of time.
In the case of so-called camera infringements, for example exceeding the speed limit and ignoring traffic signals; Infringement Notices will be electronically generated by the National Traffic Information System (eNaTIS), and served on the Infringer by registered mail.