Aarto Act amended


The amendment of the Aarto Act in Parliament last week will help drive traffic fine revenue for authorities while leaving motorists virtually powerless to defend themselves.

This according to Howard Dembovsky, the national chairman of the Justice Project South Africa, who added that the amendments also paves the way for the national rollout of the Aarto Act and the implementation of the points-demerit system, a system where points are deducted from your licence for offences.

Among the amendments is the complete removal of the courts from the Aarto process, replacing them with a compulsion to make written representations to the Road Traffic Infringement Authority, Dembrovsky said.

“Applications for appeal or review made to the newly created Tribunal must be made within 30 days of the adverse decision and must be accompanied by the payment of a fee yet to be prescribed by the minister of transport.

“Failure to exercise any of one’s so-called elective options within the prescribed timeframe will speedily lead to the issue of an enforcement order which blocks the issuing of a driving licence, a professional driving permit, any permit or licence issued in terms of any road traffic legislation or transport legislation and/or the issue of a vehicle licence disc, along with the imposition of demerit points on the alleged infringer’s driving licence or operator card.”

Dembrovsky said that even though he believes delinquent drivers must be taken to task and habitual offenders’ licenses suspended, he said the more the Aarto Act is tampered with, the more it focusses on the disposal of provisions of law which stand in the way of the revenue generation process and the less it focusses on road safety. “This travesty simply cannot go unchallenged,” he said.

Manny de Freitas, Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Transport, said the party did not support this Bill in Parliament. “The bottom line is that a number of provisions contained in the Bill will not survive judicial scrutiny, as they are especially not in line with the provisions of Section 34 and 35 of the Constitution. The Bill adds a new layer of administration that would hinder the interest and achievement of justice,” he said.

The Bill will now head to the National Council of Provinces for adoption, whereafter it will be signed into law by the president.

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