Controversial amendments to the regulations of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act are open for public comment and NPO Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) is urging the public to make submissions.
The amendments to AARTO have been met with wariness by several civil society groups and organisations. JPSA is essentially a “motorists’ rights” organisation that seeks to both educate its members and the public on road traffic law and safety as well as to help them enforce their rights.
“There are a number of concerns [with the AARTO amendments], not least of which is that these regulations have been put together in what appears to be an extremely hurried and rushed manner. They [the regulations] simply don’t go into enough detail with respect to how the AARTO Act and system is supposed to operate. They leave a lot of points to the discretion of functionaries and institutions and that, in itself, is very problematic,” said the director of JPSA, Howard Dembovsky.
Dembovsky argues that the AARTO amendments seek to drown people in bureaucratic red tape when they attempt to challenge infringement notices issued against them. This, he feels, is purposely done by the state to prevent those with infringement notices from challenging the state, forcing them to simply pay fines “incurred”. He warns that in so doing, demerit points will accumulate.
“The AARTO Act amendments and its regulations have a direct impact on every single motorist… Ultimately, the fact is that the Act and its regulations presume you to be guilty until you prove yourself innocent, while making it incredibly difficult for you to prove yourself [innocent].”
“If you don’t take this seriously and fail to read the Act and regulations and make submissions, unfortunately you’re just going to have to take what’s coming to you – and what’s coming to you is going to be very problematic if you happen to fall foul of a traffic officer who decides that he or she is going to prejudice you in one way or another.”
Those looking for the draft regulations and amendments can download the document from the link below:
According to reports by The South African, the public can also access the draft regulations on www.rtia.co.za and all objections or comments may be emailed to the Road Traffic Infringement Agency’s Advocate Qacha Moletsane on Qacha.firstname.lastname@example.org or the Department of Transport’s Advocate Ngwako Thoka on email@example.com.