Cape Town – The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says it wants the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (Aarto) and the Aarto Amendment Act to be confirmed as unconstitutional.
This after the High Court declared Aarto unconstitutional in January this year.
The law moves road traffic infringements out of the ambit of the Criminal Procedure Act and the courts and into an administrative process.
On Tuesday, the Constitutional Court (Concourt) heard arguments on Outa’s case to have the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (Aarto) and the Aarto Amendment Act declared as unconstitutional.
Speaking to eNCA, Outa’s Stefanie Fick said the act was unconstitutional.
“In essence, there’s a separation of powers between the national, provincial and local government, and we are saying by taking Aarto and making it a national legislation that interferes with the provincial and local government rights to deal with municipal roads and transport and traffic.
“We are also saying that if the court doesn’t agree on that issue, we also have a problem with the way the act intends to serve people with notices, that the consequences of this act if you don’t get a notice is serious and we need to look at how it is served,“ she said.
Fick confirmed that Aarto law already applied in cities like Tshwane and Johannesburg, not necessarily the whole country, but the Amendment Act was intended to roll out to the rest of the country as a demerit system.
“Aarto has been applicable in cities like Johannesburg and Tshwane since 1998 but it hasn’t been really successful.
“The Amendment Act changed a few things and that was supposed to be rolled out nationwide.
“Besides the fact that we believe this is unconstitutional, and that is the argument we had in court, we are also extremely concerned about the practicalities of Aarto because it’s a very elaborate step that motorists have to take.
“I wonder how many people understand what Aarto is about. What they want to do is to take minor offences out of the court system which, in principle, we don’t have a problem with. There’s nothing wrong with the demerit system, but it is how we apply it, and your administrative process should be perfect in order to give services to motorists,“ she said.
Meanwhile the High Court has upheld the judgment.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula wants to keep the Aarto law, and has thus asked the Concourt to overturn the High Court ruling of invalidity.
If the Concourt confirms invalidity, then the minister asked for this ruling to be suspended for a period of 24 months to allow Parliament time to rectify the law.
The minister says this is because Aarto could be limited to national traffic regulations.