News

Pretoria Minibus Taxi Protest Action is Misguided

JOHANNESBURG – The mass action by minibus taxi drivers in Tshwane which played itself out on Wednesday 16 August 2017 is both unfortunate and misguided; and appears to highlight just how little people know about the AARTO Act which has been in force in Tshwane for more than nine years now says Justice Project South Africa (JPSA).

It has been reported that minibus “taxi drivers embarked on illegal protest action in Tshwane on Wednesday morning, blocking several roads and railway lines and pelting passing cars with rocks” and are to hand a memorandum to the Mayor of Tshwane “complaining about law enforcement handing them tickets which prevent them from renewing their licenses” and/or professional driving permits.

An infringement notice issued in terms of the AARTO Act is subject to the so-called “adjudication procedure” which is prescribed in Chapter III of the AARTO Act which in turn caters for a “courtesy letter” and an “enforcement order” after prescribed periods after the service of an infringement notice have lapsed.

Enforcement orders issued in terms of the AARTO Act are not the equivalent of a warrant of arrest. They do however block the issuing of a motor vehicle licence disc, a driving licence card and/or a professional driving permit. The Cities of Tshwane and Johannesburg have no say in which specific infringement notices become enforcement orders and these enforcement orders can only be issued by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA). Over the past few years, the RTIA has been issuing increased volumes of enforcement orders and in the 2015/16 financial year, 640,169 enforcement orders were issued.

It is important to note that an enforcement order is issued in the complete absence of any trial since the AARTO Act does not interest itself with whether a person who is accused of a road traffic infringement is guilty or not. All it concerns itself with is administrative procedures. JPSA has repeatedly raised this issue with the highest levels within the Department of Transport, only to be vilified by them.

Regrettably, whilst the taxi drivers in question who are, to all intents and purposes, professional drivers may well have a legitimate gripe regarding enforcement orders being issued against their particulars in the absence of any trial, attacking members of the public and motorists, as well as causing mayhem in the two Cities in which the AARTO Act applies is not the right way to go and merely serves to increase the divide between taxi drivers and other motorists. Furthermore, the concept that traffic fines issued to minibus taxi drivers should be treated any differently to those issued to ordinary motorists is nonsensical and whomever it is who is allegedly negotiating special fine discounts for minibus taxi drivers should stop acting unlawfully since the AARTO Act does not cater for this.

RTIA’s leave to appeal dismissed

JOHANNESBURG – Judge Bill Prinsloo this morning dismissed the Road Traffic Infringement Agency’s (RTIA’s) application for leave to appeal his earlier judgment which had ruled the RTIA had acted unlawfully in its handling of numerous traffic fines.  The RTIA was also ordered to pay the costs of the application.

In his judgment, Prinsloo said there was no reasonable prospect that another court would come to a different conclusion. In its original arguments, the RTIA said that the issue only affected those who originally brought the case. However, in applying for leave to appeal, the case was described as having national importance. Prinsloo’s judgment said: “…the apparent change of stance  by the fourth respondent [the RTIA] is difficult to understand or, with respect, take seriously”. The judgment ends a protracted battle between Fines 4 U (Pty) Ltd (a member of JPSA), Audi Johannesburg and the RTIA which started in 2013. Although the RTIA has the option to petition the Supreme Court of Appeals, it is highly unlikely that the SCA will find any differently and JPSA urged the RTIA to stop wasting taxpayers’ money trying to defend the indefensible. Continue reading

Easter 2017 road carnage horrific, but not unexpected

JOHANNESBURG – Justice Project South Africa has noted with sincere regret but little surprise; the horrific 51% increase in this year’s Easter Road fatalities reported by Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi this morning. This comes after announcements by the RTMC just before the Easter long weekend where it asserted that it had targeted a 50% decrease in fatalities over last year.

Regrettably, it has once again been proven beyond any reasonable doubt that road safety is not a light switch that can be turned on an off, yet it is clear that the Department of Transport, RTMC and all road traffic law enforcement authorities continue to choose to ignore this fact and, instead of consistently and visibly enforcing moving violations all year round, continue to put on “shows of strength” during holiday periods, which methodology has repeatedly proven itself to be ineffective. Continue reading

Conviction and sentencing of Tony Yengeni raises serious questions over DUI

JOHANNESBURG –

Justice project South Africa notes the judgment handed down in a Western Cape Magistrates’ Court on Friday whereat Mr Tony Yengeni was convicted of the offence of driving under the influence of intoxicated liquor (drunken driving) and sentenced to a R30,000 fine or 90 days imprisonment, half of which was suspended for five years, which conviction arose from his arrest for the offence more than three and a half years ago. He now has to pay a fine of R15,000. Continue reading

JPSA submits its comments on the AARTO Amendment Bill to the Transport Portfolio Committee

JOHANNESBURG –

On 22 February 2017, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport contacted JPSA and ten other such interested parties by email, attaching a newspaper advert which had apparently been published in the weekend newspapers calling for further comment on proposed amendments to the AARTO Act.

JPSA’s full submission to the Committee can be found here. Even though the submissions period has already closed on 10 March, it is concerning to us that the Committee’s list of proposed amendments, entitled “AARTO A List 10-02-2017” no longer appears on Parliament’s website, meaning citizens can no longer scrutinise the proposals. Continue reading

High Court judgment slams AARTO abuses

JOHANNESBURG – On Friday 24 February 2017, the High Court in Pretoria put straight some of the flagrant abuses of power which have been practiced by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) for a long time now, when Judge Bill Prinsloo ruled in favour of traffic fines management company Fines 4 U (Pty) Ltd and Audi Centre Johannesburg in a tedious and expensive PAJA Review Application brought against the former Deputy Registrar of the RTIA and eight other parties. Continue reading

Announcements/reports on new traffic regulations are misleading – JPSA

JOHANNESBURG – Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) has noted various reports which have apparently arisen out of statements made by representatives and the spokesperson for the Department of Transport regarding numerous amendments and/or insertions in the National Road Traffic Regulations, only two of which have been promulgated.

For some reason which is not immediately apparent to us, the Department of Transport appears to have chosen to irresponsibly conflate actual promulgated amendments with draft amendments and this merely has the effect of spreading misinformation and confusing the public. Continue reading

JPSA welcomes news of further corruption busts and investigations

JOHANNESBURG – Justice Project South Africa is delighted to note that some action is finally being taken to tackle the rampant corruption in driving and vehicle licensing centres within the City of Johannesburg and now, Gauteng in general.

Today it was announced that a further 7 licensing officials were arrested by the Hawks, resulting from the investigation the City of Johannesburg commissioned in the latter part of 2016. Continue reading

Parole for Maarohanye and Tshabalala sends ‘unfortunate’ road safety message

JOHANNESBURG – The release of Molemo ‘Jub Jub’ Maarohanye and Themba Tshabalala on parole today, after serving four years and one month of their respective eight year sentences for killing four schoolchildren and injuring a further two in 2010 sends a rather “unfortunate” message with respect to road safety.

Albeit that two of the three families of the victims reportedly said they would accept Maarohanye’s and Tshabalala’s parole if they apologised to them first, which forgiveness it is only their place to give; it must never be forgotten that enormous human suffering was inflicted by these two individuals and that this matter highlights the extreme danger posed by driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs (DUI). Continue reading