Summons dodgers won’t escape the long arm of the law

Process server Daniel Solomons, from Westridge, surrounded by court summons which need to be delivered to traffic by-law offenders.

The issuing of court summons to the designated traffic offender is no easy feat.

So say process servers, contracted by the City of Cape Town traffic service, to serve summonses on behalf of Traffic Management Technologies (TMT), who is a legal and registered service provider for the municipality.

In the last six months a process server laid a criminal charge of a common assault against a recipient, in Strandfontein Village.

About two months ago the matter was settled out of court.

Process server Daniel Solomons, from Westridge, who is the regional manager, specifically for Mitchell’s Plain and the Southern Suburbs as far as Simon’s Town, for Van Rhyn Processing Services – told the Plainsman that more than 200 summons were served daily in Mitchell’s Plain.

“Most of them are traffic offences. These include speeding, driving unlicensed motor vehicles, and disregarding red robots (traffic lights),” he said.

He said that 10% of the recipients would kick up a fuss, refuse to sign or demand that the server stay off their premises.

Mr Solomons said many of the servers brushed off these incidents, unless they became physical.

He explained that a fine would be issued, when it is not paid within the prescribed time or enquiries were not made, the matter would be taken to the municipal court who issued the summons, which needed to be delivered to the accused’s address.

“You have the responsibility to go to the nearest municipal court to pay or ask for a reduction before the said court date; or go to the mentioned court in the summons to defend yourself,” he said.

Mr Daniels said there were many myths, such as if the summons was not signed on receipt, it is not legally binding.

“My only task is to deliver the summons and I must record in the presence of an adult that I was there; and I may give it to an adult at the premises, even if it is not the accused. I also record a description of the person it was given to, date and time of delivery,” he said.

Mr Solomons who was appointed by the court to deliver summonses about two years ago said a few recipients were the exception in being being with kind and good mannered.

After a child or a family member has moved out of the family house but the vehicle on their name is still registered to the address on the summons, the summons can still be served at the family house. Even if the accused and the family do not want to accept it.

“Failure to act on a served summons will result in a warrant of arrest,” he said.

Iegshaan Dyson, spokesman for traffic service, confirmed that Van Rhyn Processing Services is an authorised and certified the service provider as per Magistrate Act 32 of 1944.

“The service provider does not issue summons. They serve summons,,” he said.

Mr Dyson said the City’s traffic service was aware of process servers being intimidated or threatened when serving a summons.

“Residents should always ask for an official appointment certificate to identify the official serving a summons,” he said.

Mr Dyson said that once a case was before a court – the court should be approached with regards to the process flow.

For more information or to complain about the conduct of a process server call Jason Cornelius on 068 585 7069.