The AARTO Act, which would have brought the introduction of the demerit system for traffic offences, has been declared invalid
The Automobile Association (AA) says it has been vindicated by the High Court after it ruled to nullify the AARTO Acts (Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences).
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) had approached the courts in October 2021, asking that both the main act and the amendment act be declared unconstitutional and invalid.
On Thursday, 13 January 2022, the High Court in Pretoria ruled in OUTA’s favour and agreed with its position.
According to the AARTO website, the act has been in force since 2008 both in Tshwane and Johannesburg and differs entirely from the Criminal Procedure Act which has been and still is used to prosecute road traffic offences everywhere in South Africa except both cities. The AARTO Act would have brought the introduction of the demerit system for traffic offences.
“As early as a few months after the 2008 launch of the AARTO pilot project in the Johannesburg and Tshwane Metros, the shortcomings of the Act became clear in practice. Attempts to rectify these shortcomings only created further issues, and now a court has found that the Department of Transport, in drafting AARTO, did not consider the fundamental issue of whether the system passed constitutional muster,” said the AA’s spokesperson Layton Beard.
The Automobile Association (AA) is standing by its stance on the AARTO Act and traffic offences, which is that traffic fines should be dealt with in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA), with some legislative amendments to protect motorists in cases where delivery of fines and service of summonses was not conducted in accordance with the law.
The AA reckons a demerit system be implemented as part of the judicial process.
“This is how points-demerit has been implemented in other parts of the world for half a century or longer. The AA itself called for such a system as long ago as 1963, and we would be willing to work with government to help create it, just as we have assisted in developing many other aspects of traffic law,”AA’s spokesperson Layton Beard
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