Home South African Road Freight Association backs court’s ruling on Aarto Act

Road Freight Association backs court’s ruling on Aarto Act

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Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula at the December festive season safety launch Picture: DoT

The Road Freight Association has welcomed the court’s decision to declare the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act, on which the planned demerit system for traffic offences is based, as unconstitutional.

DURBAN ‒ The Road Freight Association has welcomed the court’s decision to declare the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act, on which the planned demerit system for traffic offences is based, as unconstitutional.

On Thursday, it was reported that the Pretoria High Court delivered its ruling after the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) brought the matter to court in October 2021.

“It therefore follows in my view that the Aarto Act and the Amendment Act must be declared to be inconsistent with the Constitution in its entirety. It is therefore declared that the Aarto Act and the Amendment Acts are unconstitutional and invalid,” Judge Basson concluded.

RFA CEO Gavin Kelly, said they were not surprised by the court’s decision.

He added that there were many changes made to the original act.

“We will have to see what the Department of Transport plans to do in terms of appealing against the judgment. The association supports road safety, the role that traffic policing must play in increasing safety, as well as compliance with the legislative requirements to support safer roads for all users. We have been very clear and outspoken about the flaws that the association identified in Aarto that, in our view, were predicated on revenue generation and not on changing driver behaviour and vehicle maintenance to ensure safer roads,” Kelly said.

He added that the association trusted that Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula would consider a more effective, targeted, sustainable and implementable solutions to reduce road crashes.

Kelly noted that during the 2020/2021 festive season, the number and severity of crashes was dramatically reduced ‒ without Aarto being in place.

He added that the use of resources to target known causes proved that a complicated system of demerit points, administration of drivers and vehicles regarding point thresholds and the payment of levies and penalties to facilitate “swifter administration” of traffic law obedience, was not necessary“.

“The RFA supports the non-implementation of a system that would have created administrative labour and cost nightmares for all South African drivers ‒ and more so any company that operates a fleet,” Kelly said.

Mbalula has meanwhile confirmed that the department was studying the ruling. He added that he would be guided by legal advice on whether to appeal.

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