Daily Archives: 7 October 2004

Bureaucratic Idiocy

I try to be a good driver, be courteous and stick to the speed limit.  Of course like any South African I do speed a little and occasionally I get a speeding ticket.  I think I have only had five or so in the 24 years I’ve been driving.

Anyway, I received one of my rare speeding tickets in the mail a few days ago and the way these things work is quite ridiculous.  I was caught by a camera trap while on my way home and the trap was only three or four kilometres from my home.  But there is only one place that I may pay it, at the Parow traffic department.  Parow is in Cape Town, around 40 kilometres from where I live and was caught speeding.  I don’t go into Cape Town very often, so why I should have to go there to pay a fine is beyond me.  Fortunately I can mail in a cheque, which is what I’ve done.  But what if I had been here on holiday and having returned home I receive a ticket through the mail and for some reason the mail was delayed so there is not enough time to mail a cheque before the due date?  Would I have to return to Cape Town to pay my fine, or wait to be summonsed to appear in court, in Cape Town?

In years gone by you could pay a fine at any police station, no matter where the ticket was issued.  Why this is no longer possible, when there are more forms of electronic communication linking everywhere is really beyond me.