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JPSA, transport department set for face-off soon over Aarto Act traffic fines

2018-04-24 05:30

Johannesburg - The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Bill moved a step closer to implementation in South Africa earlier in 2018.

The bill was passed in the National Assembly in September 2017 and in February 2018, Wheels24 reported that public hearings have been held in many provinces.

Justice Project South Africa said the Aarto Act and its associated Aarto Amendment Bill represented the "biggest change in the manner in which road traffic offences are prosecuted". 

JPSA chairperson Howard Dembovsky has challenged some of the areas in the bill in court papers filed in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria earlier in April.

"Numerous provisions of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act, as well as certain provisions of the National Road Traffic Act, are unconstitutional and should be struck down," he said.

The Department of Transport said it has instructed "the State Attorney to defend the matter".

What do you think of the Aarto Amendment Bill? Will the demerit system curb SA's horrendous road death toll? Email us

JPSA said: "The papers comprise a motion application containing 17 main points, with the primary focus seeking some 34 provisions of the currently applicable Aarto Act and two provisions of the National Road Traffic Regulations to be set aside."

Among the areas being challenged by JPSA are:

• Presumption of guilt that the AARTO Act and the National Road Traffic Act/Regulations are based upon
• Financial conflict of interest by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) 
• Circumvention of constitutional and legal principles 
• "Traffic law enforcement authorities are empowered to hold accused persons to ransom and effectively force them to pay traffic fines, regardless of whether they are guilty or not"

Dembovsky said: "At this juncture, none of the respondents have yet filed notices of intention to oppose but it is very early days. The RTIA was only served by the Sheriff last Wednesday (April 18). Since the main thrust of this application is to strike numerous provisions of legislation, as well as to force certain performances, at the very least, I am expecting the Minister of Transport the RTIA and the RTMC to oppose it. There may be others whom will also do so."

Transport Department responds

The Transport Department  said: "Since the matter is going to court, some of the issues raised will be ventilated during the court proceedings. We can confirm that the department has instructed the State Attorney to defend the matter."

Aarto Bill

However, Dembovsky said that he was not challenging the Aarto Amendment Bill, since it had not yet been signed into law: "That bridge will be crossed when, and indeed if we come to it."

His affidavit, which can be viewed and downloaded here.

Infographic by: Law for All


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