Transport Dept needs at least 18 months before it can implement AARTO Act

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The Transport Department needs at least 18 more months before it can implement the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act. This follows the Constitutional Court victory on Wednesday.

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo ruled in favour of the AARTO Act to penalise traffic violations, legalise fines via email and the introduction of a demerit system, that will revoke the licenses of repeat offenders.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) challenged the AARTO Act as unconstitutional, but failed in their legal bid at the Apex court.

OUTA sought to get their Pretoria High Court victory of November 2022 affirmed by the Constitutional Court.

“The Constitutionality might arise in other forms of how those municipalities protect their revenue from the hands of the RTIA which is an empire-building situation of making a lot of money at a national level when that money should be going to local government,” OUTA’s Wayne Duvenage explains.

But Chief Justice Zondo disagreed and ruled the AARTO Act as constitutional.

“Go ahead and launch it and let’s see what happens. We don’t want to sit here in two years time and say I told you so, we are not here to destabilise the situation. What we can see is grave failure to this process going forward,” Duvenage adds.

OUTA responds to ConCourt’s ruling on AARTO Act: Wayne Duvenage:

Concerns of AARTO impact

The Automobile Association (AA) also join the bandwagon of concerns about the impact AARTO will have on road users.

“It’s not going to achieve that intended outcome, you can’t legislate a problem in the hope it’s going to solve that problem, you need practical solutions, you need boots on the ground and you need a system that will operate efficiently and our concern is that money of those requirements are present now,” AA spokesperson Layton Beard says.

Beard’s bugbear is AARTO’s demerit point system for traffic violations.

“You need to capacitate the system by giving traffic law enforcement the resources they need in terms of human resources such as double the amount of law enforcement officers on the ground and admin requirement and equipment needs. So it’s all about resources but the concerns that AA has and those are that the system won’t be able to deal with AARTO as it stands because it doesn’t have the capacity to do so,” Beard explains.

It could take Dept. of Transport at least 18 more months to implement AARTO Act:

The spokesperson for the Transport Department, Coleen Msibi says the entity has several months to train its staff on the system.

“The next step is the proclamation of this Act into Law and it has to be signed by the President. He will have to give a date of when it will come into law and that will be gazetted as well thereafter RTIA takes over the implementation itself. We have got to establish outlets and Training,” says Msibi.

The way the system is set up is that you start on a clean slate with 0 points. Each road infringement results in a minimum of a 1 point demerit, and a fine or penalty.

When you reach the maximum of 12 points, your driver’s license gets suspended for three months. However, a licence will only be cancelled, when it has been suspended for a third time. Msibi says fines and notices will be served via e-mail and reminders sent via WhatsApp and SMS.

“The training of back office staff who are issuing the letters that needs to happen and part of what we had said before we went to court that our implementation would start with 64 or 69 municipalities and then we are going to move to 144 after the demerit point comes at the end,” Msibi elaborates.

ConCourt’s ruling in favour of AARTO Act: Collen Msibi: