Registered users can save articles to their personal articles list. Login here or sign up here

Could Aarto stop you from driving for 122 years?

System so broken, it cannot be fixed – Justice Project SA.

The Justice Project SA (JPSA) has called on government to “throw out” the controversial Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act and revert to the Criminal Procedures Act (CPA) for traffic law enforcement.

This call has been supported by the Automobile Association (AA) at a media briefing hosted by the National Press Club in Pretoria. AA spokesperson Layton Beard, says government should go back to the drawing board and prioritise road safety.

JPSA chairman Howard Dembovsky illustrated one of the possible effects of the Amendment Bill as follows:

A company with a fleet of 1 000 cars appoints its fleet manager as proxy (representative). Five hundred of the cars each get a speeding fine with one demerit point. If the fleet manager decides to pay all the fines, but fails to nominate the real drivers within 32 days, he will be awarded 500 demerit points against his own driver’s licence and would be prohibited from driving because he exceeds the maximum of 12 demerit points. The suspension period per demerit point above the threshold (488 points) is three months, which means it will take 122 years before he can resume driving. Dembovsky says no nomination is allowed after the 32-day period, which is very short in the context of a large company.

The Aarto Act has been in force in Pretoria and Johannesburg as pilot projects for almost a decade. These projects have been characterised by administrative failures, court challenges and financial problems for the authorities issuing infringement notices and the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) tasked with administering the Act.

Government later introduced the Aarto Amendment Bill that is now in the last stages of the parliamentary process before being made law. The bill was expected to solve problems in the current act, but according to Dembovsky it is still deeply flawed.

It is government’s stated objective to roll out Aarto, including a points demerit system, countrywide once the Amendment Bill has been enacted.

Dembovsky called on motorists to take the last opportunities for public comment on the bill as it is presented to the National Council of Provinces to voice their concerns. It has already been adopted by the National Assembly.

Dembovsky warns that fleet owners will be exposed to considerable risk should the bill in its current form be enacted.

He says that, in terms of the amendments, not only driving licences and operator cards may be suspended or cancelled when the maximum number of demerit points have been awarded. “Permits and operating licences issued in accordance with any road transport legislation will also be included.”

That means a school bus company might have its permit to transport school children suspended for three months if any of its vehicles exceed the maximum number of demerit points, Dembovsky explains.

Electronic service of infringement notices will be allowed, and the bill provides for a presumption of successful service. Dembovsky says this means the authorities may presume the alleged infringer has received an infringement notice ten days after sending an email or posting it on the person’s social media page. This would entitle authorities to proceed with the process and should the infringer take no action (perhaps because he is unaware of the notice) issue an enforcement order blocking his licences and permits.

The infringer will no longer have the option to elect to be tried in court, but should make written representations to the RTIA. If rejected, he could appeal to a Tribunal within 30 days and if unsuccessful may approach the High Court for relief.

The implementation of Aarto has thus far seen several court challenges with regard to procedural issues and the authorities have been found wanting. Dembovsky points out that the Amendment Bill protects authorities in this regard by providing that unsuccessful representations on the basis of procedural issues may be reissued within six months of the alleged infringement.

He says the bill seeks to strengthen the reverse onus, where motorists will have to prove their innocence instead of being innocent until proven guilty. If an alleged infringer fails to take action “the so-called adjudication procedure will proceed full steam ahead, culminating in the issuing of an enforcement order”.

Dembovsky explains that an enforcement order results in the blocking of the issuing of a driver’s licence, professional driving permit and vehicle licence disk as well as any licence or permit issued in terms of any road traffic or transport legislation.

Proxies for juristic persons like companies who are not operators will now also attract demerit points for infringements committed by other people driving the company’s vehicles, unless he nominates the real driver within 32 days.

Beard said road safety was no feature of the Amendment Bill and there was no sign that road safety has improved since the implementation of Aarto in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

He said the bill had been drafted badly in English that it was difficult to understand, which has resulted in confusion among the general public.

Rolling out Aarto countrywide would merely multiply the problems Johannesburg and Pretoria are currently facing with the system in other parts of the country.

He has called on government to go back to the drawing board and approach the matter with road safety as prime objective.

Get access to Moneyweb's financial intelligence and support quality journalism for only
R63/month or R630/year.
Sign up here, cancel at any time.

AUTHOR PROFILE

COMMENTS   11

To comment, you must be registered and logged in.

LOGIN HERE

Don't have an account?
Sign up for FREE

Aarto, brought to you by the people who wish to steal your land.

Please do trust us that we will not go on to steal hour property. Do not worry that we have already stolen vast amounts of your investments via race based AA and BBB-EE via free and hugely discounted shares.

Of course you understand that to fix a grave historical injustice 150 years ago we must commit a grave historical injustice right now. Of course the past is more important than the present and future.

From: Our people.

Not only is the system a failure but even the people who wrote the systems are an absolute failure – pay back the money.
Jeff Radebe seems to be an accumulate of incompetence awards – we have him to thank for Aarto, Transnet and his failure to introduce the NDP (whilst in the office of the president). Seems like the brains and the business acumen resides with his wife and he was left with nothing

It doesn’t help to badmouth these people…..they don’t have any shame any integrity any self respect they don’t want to be helped….rather go on with your own life and let them drown in their own s…!

The problem is that we’ll drown with them. Thanks to South Africa’s nominal and grossly unsafe public transport system, the average middle class person cannot run their lives without an automobile and licence.

And before the naysayers cry “ag shame for them”, just a note that these people pay the personal income tax that is the biggest source of government revenue and run the companies which provide employment.

Can we please scrap the whole thing, tickets included and start all over again

Totally agree with the comments that Road safety – which should be the MAIN driving force – seems to be a side issue to traffic legislation.

The problem is that traffic fines are a source of significant revenue. Road Safety is being used as a vehicle (er … excuse pun 🙂 to skim money from motorists. Any actual benefit to Road safety is entirely incidental to this hidden motive.

Cape Town City Council is as good an example as any.

In 2017, the Portfolio Committee on Transport issued an amendment to the 2015 AARTO amendments. Not once in that 26-page document did the word ‘safety’ appear. AARTO is about securing the RTIA’s revenue stream, and nothing else.

I want a refund for ALL the ILLEGAL speeding fines I paid !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

South Africa has an appalling road safety record. Demerit systems work elsewhere in the world. But fleet managers and operators will be inconvenienced, it needs to be thrown out (presumably keeping track of who drives what is too hard for them).

There are some interesting things going on in the “civic activism” space in South Africa. But objective thinking isn’t our strong suite, so let’s jump on the outrage bandwagon without asking who benefits from these rather interesting positions.

One of the reasons e-tolls failed is that the biggest murderers on the roads, the taxi industry, were given a free ride by wimpish authorities (at the expense of law-abiding road-users). The same principle applies to fines in my opinion. Why must we pay when a lawless and violent segment – which should be shut down – is given special treatment. Until ordinary road users are given their due and the killing-machine taxi industry is regarded as sacred, people will find ways to protest.

Load All 11 Comments
End of comments.

LATEST CURRENCIES  

USD / ZAR
GBP / ZAR
EUR / ZAR
Insider GOLD
ONLY R63pm

Moneyweb's premium subscription is a membership service which will give you access to a number of tools to take charge of your investments.
Or choose a yearly subscription at R630pa - SAVE R126

Get instant access to all our tools and content. Monthly subscription can be suspended at any time.

Podcasts

SHOP NEWSLETTERS TRENDING CPD HUB

Follow us:

Search Articles:Advanced Search
Click a Company: