OUTA plans to challenge the AARTO Amendment Act
President Cyril Ramaphosa has assented to and signed the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Amendment Bill, making it law. Implementation now awaits the law being gazetted with a commencement date.
“OUTA has opposed this Bill from the start and is now planning a constitutional challenge to it,” says Rudie Heyneke, OUTA Portfolio Manager on Transport. OUTA held a workshop to consult the industry on the Bill, made submissions to Parliament based on this and, after the Bill was passed by Parliament earlier this year, wrote twice to the President asking him not to sign it.
OUTA called for the Bill to be amended, due to concerns that it would not improve road safety, it is logistically cumbersome to the point of being potentially unconstitutional, and paves the way for corruption. The final version of the law does not take into consideration OUTA’s concerns.
Pilot projects in Tshwane and Johannesburg using this system over the past decade failed.
“The focus should be on road safety, not on an administratively complicated system aimed at collecting revenue,” says Heyneke.
The Act sets up a demerit system for drivers, who lose points for traffic offences, which may result in the loss of a driving licence.
OUTA is also concerned that the new Act will be used to force Gauteng motorists to pay e-tolls, by making it an offence to ignore road signs which could include those listing e-toll charges.
“We need solutions on road safety, but this isn’t one of them. We want to see a workable law,” says Heyneke.
It seems that the road accident rate and associated death rate
are higher after Aarto was implemented.
Anton Alberts, FF Plus National Chairperson – 19 August 2019
Aarto (the Bill on the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences) will certainly not combat lawlessness on our country’s roads as the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, argues. On the contrary, it is just a recipe for even more chaos and bloodshed.
Aarto has already failed in Gauteng and the system has moved away from its initial objective of ensuring better policing of our roads with the aim of making them safer.
It has now become less of a criminal system and more of an administrative system and still it is failing due to, among other things, staff shortages at the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA). Additionally, courts that can adjudicate Aarto cases have not been established.
The biggest problem with Aarto is that it is a complex system and the country is not ready nor able to implement it.
Roads have not become safer, quite the opposite. Based on the answers provided to parliamentary questions that the FF Plus posed to the Minister of Transport regarding the matter, it seems that the road accident rate and associated death rate are higher after Aarto was implemented.
In light of this, it does not make any sense to expand the system countrywide to municipalities that are mostly bankrupt and where corruption and mismanagement are at the order of the day. It is a recipe for disaster.
The fact that motor vehicle drivers will risk losing their driving licenses based on a merit system creates a breeding ground for corruption. Drivers will be desperate to keep their licenses and that will undoubtedly increase the likelihood of large-scale bribery, particularly when it comes to issuing fines that could affect a person’s merit score.
The FF Plus cannot see how any city council will be able to implement this system successfully. If the Gauteng metros of Johannesburg and Pretoria could not implement it successfully, it is highly unlikely that it could work anywhere else.
If this system is implemented nationally, it will only lead to more corruption and roads will become more dangerous. Motorists will soon realise that Aarto does not ensure accountability to motivate people to obey the traffic rules and then the massacre on our roads will simply intensify.
That blood will be on the hands of the ANC and then it will not be able to turn around and say that the FF Plus did not warn it of the dangers of implementing this system countrywide.