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OUTA calls for traffic fines to be written off

Motoring

In light of the recent judgment taken in the Gauteng North High Court between Fines-4-U, Audi Johannesburg and the Road Traffic Management Agency (RTIA) and others, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) believes it is in the interest of justice that all traffic fines issued without following due process under AARTO, be scrapped and all prosecution associated with this be halted.

“We also request with immediate effect, the licensing authorities do not force motorists to settle enforcement orders for outstanding traffic fines going forward, until this entire debacle has been cleared up,” says Ben Theron, OUTA’s Transport Portfolio Director. “We believe it is time for the Auditor General and others in authority to conduct a full and comprehensive audit of the entire Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) system.”

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AARTO has been in development for close on a decade and in test phase in Tshwane and Johannesburg for most of this time. Despite all the effort and money poured into the scheme, it remains cumbersome, impractical and virtually unworkable, says OUTA.

The recent court judgment has shown how costly and impractical the scheme is to manage, says the organisation, which has now left the two metros with billions of Rands missing in their respective revenue budgets, which is virtually uncollectable.

“What society needs to know is how much money has been spent on the AARTO system to date,” adds Theron. “Accordingly, we feel that the AG needs to take a hard look at the extent of the RTIA’s failure to comply with the regulations. Additionally, the Transport department needs to also take a hard look at the real reasons behind the AATRO scheme’s failure and to engage with critics of the system, who for years have warned of its failure to effectively manage and tackle traffic violations and road safety matters in South Africa.

Last Friday the High Court ruled in favour of traffic fines management company Fines 4 U and Audi Centre Johannesburg, who took the traffic authorities to court for not following the due process of traffic violation enforcement.

Judge Bill Prinsloo found that the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) failed to dispatch traffic fines per the regulations of the Aarto act, which included requiring registered mail to be used for final infringement notices, and the timelines for the serving of the notices.

Fines4U owner Cornelia van Niekerk said a large percentage of the millions of fines handed out to other Joburg and Tshwane motorists would be affected by the same failures, and called upon the RTIA to cancel all similarly affected fines without delay.

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