The Road Traffic Offenses Agency (RTIA) is now ready to fully implement the controversial Road Traffic Offenses Administrative Authorization Act, better known as Aarto, following the transport minister’s victory in court this week.
The Constitutional Court’s decision on Wednesday that Aarto is constitutional and valid – and therefore legal – paved the way for RTIA to proceed with its plans for the implementation of Aarto.
“All uncertainty about Aarto and its Amendment Act of 2019 has finally been cleared up,” says Matsemela Moloi, chief executive and registrar of RTIA.
According to Moloi, he is satisfied that there is finally clarity that Aarto falls within the scope of road traffic regulation, and that parliament has the power to pass this legislation.
“We can now confidently proceed with its implementation so that we can start improving the safety of our roads for users.”
Moloi says RTIA is now reviewing its existing plans and making the necessary adjustments to the implementation timeline so that preparations can begin to roll out Aarto nationally.
“We have always believed that South Africa needs legislation that will effectively enforce compliance with all road traffic regulations, while also improving the safety of road users in general, and Aarto will achieve exactly that.”
In the meantime, RTIA will continue to engage in discussions with all interest groups to ensure that everyone has a thorough understanding of Aarto and how its amendment act will work.
RTIA will also continue to educate road users about the benefits of Aarto, and the implications for those who do not comply.
“One of the advantages of Aarto is that road traffic offenses will be removed from our courts and placed under the management of one central agency,” says Moloi.
“Aarto also provides for a points system designed to ensure that serial traffic offenders are removed from South Africa’s roads.”
‘Aarto not executable’
The FF Plus is of the opinion that Aarto is simply not feasible under the current government.
“The testing phase of Aarto was done in Johannesburg and Pretoria. It clearly showed that injuries and deaths due to road accidents have by no means decreased, but rather increased since the implementation of the system,” says Adv. Anton Alberts, national chairman of the FF Plus.
“Aarto thereby missed its core objective, namely to encourage obedience to road traffic rules and promote road traffic safety.”
Other problems that the FF Plus noticed during the test period are also of concern to Alberts.
Once an offense has been committed, a notice must be issued within 40 days.
“In reality, numerous notices were not issued on time, but it was still required that the fines that followed had to be paid. There were even times where notices were generated within the computer system but never issued while the authorities still demanded payment for them,” he says.
“The poor service of the post office even caused many notices to be sent out late.
“Furthermore, no proper infrastructure was established to handle the large number of representations. At one stage, the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police performed Aarto functions for which it was not authorized, such as adjudicating representations itself.
“The worst case of Aarto mismanagement was the times when there were simply no notices issued for months. In these times, under ANC management, there was in fact no policing of law-breaking on the Johannesburg and Pretoria roads, as the operation of the previous and more effective Criminal Procedure Act to prosecute road-related offenses was simply not applied.”
Alberts says it is clear that the Aarto system is sophisticated and requires an environment of integrity and high standards to work.
“Until now, such an environment has not been created. On the contrary, the new system has instead created the environment for numerous abuses to the detriment of the public without the relevant roads becoming safer.”
A serious question mark now hangs over the post office’s ability to deliver the millions of future Aarto notifications on behalf of more than 2,000 local governments once the system is officially implemented at national level.
“Aarto is essentially a symbol of the ANC government’s incompetence to manage any modern system for the benefit of the country.”