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.
Some of the proposals are particularly worrisome, such as:
- Removing the right of an alleged infringer to elect to be tried in court until a courtesy letter has been issued;
- Allowing the re-issue of infringement notices where issuing authorities or the RTIA have failed to comply with procedures prescribed by the AARTO Act;
- Creating an Appeals Tribunal which will take the place of trial in courts; and
- Allowing salaries, pensions and benefits of RTIA staff to be decided without the involvement of the Minister of Finance.
If the proposals are enacted as law, the AARTO Act will become almost entirely focused on revenue generation and will remain heavily flawed. In addition, we have grave reservations about the constitutionality of several of the proposals, as well as the existing provisions of the Act, which we believe will and currently do lead to unjust “convictions”.
The AARTO Act, the proposals to amend it, and the way in which traffic enforcement is practised in South Africa is not safety-orientated to any acceptable degree. It’s all about the money and that is very, very sad indeed.