The DA welcomes the decision by the Pretoria High Court to declare the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Acts unconstitutional and invalid. For years, the DA has consistently maintained that the Act infringed on road user rights to administrative justice due to its arbitrary demerit system.
The AARTO Act and the AARTO Amendment Act sought to create the quasi-judicial Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), whose mandate was to adjudicate traffic offences and decide whether a traffic offender can approach a court of law. This was obviously a violation of Section 34 and 35 of the Constitution which affords everyone the right to have a fair trial and to have dispute resolved in a public hearing before a court of law.
AARTO Acts were particularly going to be devastating for businesses that had operator class vehicles that passed through e-toll gantries. If a truck driver with an operator class vehicle received a fine of R500 for every e-toll gantry they passed through without paying e-tolls, they would lose one demerit point.
Worse still, the AARTO Acts sought to centralise traffic management at national level and usurp the authority of provincial and local authorities. This was not only an infringement on the constitutional demarcations governing the three spheres of government, it also exposed a disturbing and growing culture within the ANC government to punt centralisation as a solution to their self-created governance failures.
Now that the Court has asked Parliament to go back to the drawing board and ensure that the AARTO Acts are aligned with the Constitution, the DA will fight to remove provisions within the Acts that infringe on people’s rights to due process and administrative justice.