While Covid-19 has nudged several critical issues out of the spotlight – among them the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act - the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has kept its finger on the pulse.
The organisation today revealed that it had filed a high court application to have the Aarto Act and Aarto Amendment Act declared unconstitutional.
The Minister of Transport and the Road Traffic Infringement Authority (RTIA) have filed notices to oppose the application and they have until the end of September to file their opposing papers.
Passed in 1998, Aarto creates a single national system of road traffic regulation and enforcement through the judiciary. The Aarto Amendment Act, passed in 2019 but not yet in operation, moves the enforcement of traffic laws to an administrative system. When the amendment comes into force, the Aarto system will be rolled out nationwide and the driver demerits points system will commence.
The Aarto Amendment Act was signed into law by the President and published in the Government Gazette in August 2019, but a date for implementation is still be gazetted. In January, Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula said the amendment would come into effect in June, but this was later delayed due to the effects of Covid-19.
“While Outa believes that measures to improve road safety and reduce fatalities are urgently needed, we believe that the Act will not achieve this. Aarto was rolled out in Gauteng 10 years ago and failed spectacularly. Statistics do not support the claim that it will lead to a reduction in fatalities on roads,” a spokesman for the organisation said.
The application calls for the court to declare both the main act and the amendment unconstitutional. This is because this legislation unlawfully intrudes upon the exclusive executive and legislative competence of the local and provincial governments envisaged in the Constitution, according to Outa.