Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
13 Jan 2022
11:31 am

Aarto Act unconstitutional, High Court rules in Outa’s favour

Citizen Reporter

'We are satisfied that the judgment will be sending government back to the drawing board', Outa's legal officer said.

Picture: iStock

The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Acts has been declared unconstitutional and invalid by the Pretoria High Court.

The court delivered its judgement on Thursday, according to Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), who legally challenged the Aarto Act and Aarto Amendment Act in October last year.

The organisation asked the court to declare both acts unconstitutional, which was opposed by Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula and the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA).

According to Outa, Judge Annali Basson ruled that both acts “must be declared to be inconsistent with the Constitution in its entirety”.

ALSO READ: Dissecting the incoming Aarto demerit system for drivers

Basson also ordered the Minister and the RTIA to pay the organisation’s costs, including the costs of two counsels.

Outa’s Chief Legal Officer, Stefanie Fick said the organisation has welcomed the judgement.

“We are very pleased with the court’s decision. Outa believes that Aaato in its current format does nothing to improve road safety, nor does it reduce the scourge of road fatalities in South Africa.

“We are satisfied that the judgment will be sending government back to the drawing board. This time around, we trust the relevant departments will engage meaningfully with civil society to obtain our input when developing such important policies for the country,” Fick said in a statement.

Early last year, the Department of Transport announced Aarto’s effective date as 1 July. However, the Act was not gonna be introduced all at once, but rather over four phases.

The amended Aarto Act includes the much-maligned demerit system.

Motorists will have a 12-month reprieve as the online demerit system is only scheduled to go into operation as the final phase rollout on 1 July 2022.

Here are four phases to the Aarto roll-out.

  • Phase 1 started on 1 July until 30 September 2021, during which seven Aaarto service outlets were established nationally, the eNATIS was permitted to collect Aarto payments, and included a communications campaign to educate motorists on Aarto.
  • Phase 2 ran from 1 October to 31 December 2021 during which 67 local metropolitan authorities rolled out Aarto processing, the adjudication process and Appeals Tribunal also started functioning and 18 more Aarto service outlets was established.
  • Phase 3 commenced on 1 January 2022 and will run until 30 June 2022 during which 144 municipal areas will be added to the Aarto system.
  • Phase 4 which will begin 1 July 2022 and which will see the introduction of the Points Demerit System as well as the rehabilitation programme for repeat offenders which serves as the backbone of Aarto.

NOW READ: ‘Aarto rollout mired in confusion, drivers in the dark’