Wholly inadequate “apology” from the RTIA

On Tuesday 26 September 2017, JPSA put out a media release dealing with a flurry of SMS and email communications sent out by Syntell (Pty) Ltd on behalf of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (“RTIA”).

JPSA takes note of the media statement put out by the RTIA on Wednesday 27 September 2017 in response thereto, wherein the Agency offered a wholly inadequate, so-called “apology” to motorists who had been sent SMS messages in what it terms to be a “communication error which has since been rectified”.

What is most notable about this media statement is that it refers specifically and solely to SMS communications sent by Syntell (Pty) Ltd on behalf of the RTIA for newly issued infringement notices in an apparent attempt to add a positive spin to the situation. Nowhere in that statement does the RTIA make any similar apology with respect to the emails sent citing JMPD fines alone and revealing extremely sensitive, private, privileged and personal information in those emails.

JPSA began receiving numerous complaints from concerned motorists almost immediately on 21 September when the emails were first sent out and has already received a complaint from a gentleman in Pretoria who has been emailed the “outstanding infringements” pertaining to another person whom is not known to him. The relevant email reveals that person’s names, national identity number and 30 of the 34 alleged infringements, with the number plate of the offending vehicles emblazoned in it.

Despite the fact that the gentleman who received this email is not in the least bit interested in the private personal information of the person the email was supposed to reach, the unencrypted public display of that person’s private, personal information represents a serious and arguably, unlawful invasion of his/her privacy and could quite easily enable and/or promote identity theft.

“This glaringly obvious attempt by the RTIA to obfuscate and/or side-step the real issues surrounding these so-called ‘communication errors’ quite simply does not cut the mustard, nor does it even come anywhere close to explaining why the payment of ‘stagnated’ fines issued by the JMPD only, dating back as far as five years ago was solicited,” said JPSA’s chairperson, Howard Dembovsky.

JPSA has written to the Registrar of the RTIA to express its dissatisfaction with the RTIA’s so-called “apology” with respect to a far less serious issue and to get answers on the truly serious issues which surround this matter. We await the Registrar’s response.

Please note that the personal particulars of affected persons have been redacted from the document published here since JPSA does respect the privacy of individuals.