last year in January we were in SA with a hired car. At the end of August we received a letter, dated May 5, from Wolmaransstad district saying that we were caught by a laser cam for speed excess.
We should have paid a fine before the beginning of August to avoid to appear in court
, but the date was already passed.
I tried to call the local police but I didn’t get any answer.
Now the question is: should we pay now the fine, even if it is so late? Or can we just ignore it? We are coming back in December, so we don’t want to have problems with police…
In terms of our law everybody has got the right to a hearing in court. Now, you have received a notice that you have exceeded the speed limit. Who said that you are guilty? You haven't had the opportunity to put your version before court. You did not have an opportunity to challenge the correctness of the apparatus which checked your speed. You may have a defence of sudden emergency like when somebody fell seriously ill and you had to get that person to a hospital
What if somebody stole the mail bag containing the letter. How were you supposed to become aware of the fine. Any summons must be served on you personally by a police or traffic official. In the summons you must be given a date to appear in court or a date before which a fine is to be paid. Until that happens, you have got nothing to fear, not even at an airport. After all, you haven't been found guilty in a court of law.
Having said that, most people pay the fine just to get rid of the situation.