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Cape Town -
A claim that Transport Minister Ben Martins “snuck through” changes to the National Road Traffic Regulations is not correct, his ministry said on Thursday.
Earlier, Democratic Alliance MP Ian Ollis said in a statement that Martins and his predecessor S'bu Ndebele had bypassed Parliament to make the changes..
“Several amendments... have been snuck through by the former (S'bu Ndebele) and the current (Martins) transport minister this year, without being referred to Parliament for comment, or allowing sufficient time for public input,” Ollis said.
However, ministry spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso said no regulation amendments had been published without going through the correct processes, and they were in accordance with applicable guidelines.
“With regard to Minister Martins, the statement by MP Ollis is completely untrue, as the minister has not yet published any amendments to the NRTA 1/8National Road Transport Act 3/8,” he said.
In his statement, Ollis said examples of how regulatory guidelines had been “spurned” included:
Ä legislation introducing special new traffic police officers, or “peace officers”, where the notice stated that interested persons had only 20 days to make representation, instead of the 28 days required by the act;
Ä the publication of toll tariffs for different categories of road users and classes of motor vehicles. This notice had stated that the tariffs were payable from April 30 this year, giving the public just 17 days to give their thoughts on the matter; and,
Ä changes governing, among other things, the registration and licensing of motor vehicles. These amendments “were never brought before Parliament”, and were also “cleverly published” over holiday periods, reducing the likelihood of input.
“It seems Minister Martins has decided to take up his predecessor's penchant for undermining Parliament by forcing through regulations and amendments, and skirting clause six of the National Road Traffic Act.”
Ollis said he would write to the minister, and the chairwoman of the transport portfolio committee, Ruth Bhengu, demanding that appropriate procedures be followed.
Rikhotso said some of the issues referred to by Ollis related to the SA National Roads Agency and National Roads Act, “which is not part of the NRTA, and publication... doesn't require submission to a committee of Parliament”. - Sapa