AARTO: WHY WE’RE GOING TO COURT
The president signed the AARTO Amendment Act into law in August, but a commencement date has not been announced. In September, OUTA filed a high court application to have the AARTO Act and the AARTO Amendment Act declared unconstitutional. Here’s why…
“While OUTA believes that measures to improve road safety and reduce fatalities are urgently needed, we don’t believe that the AARTO Amendment Act will achieve this,” says Director of OUTA’s Accountability Division, Advocate Stephanie Fick.
“We are asking the high court to declare both the main act and the amendment unconstitutional, because this legislation unlawfully intrudes on the exclusive executive and legislative competence of the local and provincial governments envisaged in the Constitution. These constitutional inconsistencies of the AARTO Act and the Amendment Act lie at the very core of both Acts and are not capable of severance without negating the fundamental purpose of the two Acts.”
If the court finds that the law is not inconsistent with the Constitution, then OUTA further opposes Section 17 of the Amendment Act. This removes the requirement that serving of notices and related documents must be done personally or by registered mail – allowing instead the use of email, SMS or voice message.
“Given the serious consequences that may follow an infringement, this service is hopelessly inadequate,” Stephanie maintains.
The AARTO Act was passed in 1998 to create a single national system of road traffic regulation and enforcement through the judiciary. The AARTO Amendment Act, passed in 2019 but not yet in operation, moves the enforcement of traffic laws to an administrative system. When the amendment comes into force, the AARTO system will be rolled out nationwide and the driver demerits points system will kick in.