Claims that the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Amendment Act (Aarto) was part of a bullying tactic to force motorists to pay e-tolls is “misleading” and “disingenuous”, the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) has charged.
The Citizen reported yesterday that if Aarto goes into operation, it will cost those without e-tags about R1,000 to travel between Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Despite RTIA’s denials, the Act appeared to indicate that there is a fine of R250 per gantry on Gauteng’s tolled highways for light vehicle motorists.
It also appears to indicate that operator class vehicle drivers would be docked a point from their licences and fined R500 for every gantry passed without paying.
“It should be emphasised that government expressed its intent to remove the allocation of demerit points to an infringement arising from noncompliance with the road traffic sign that directs the operation of a tolled road,” agency spokesperson Monde Mkalipi said in a statement yesterday.
He said the “so-called experts” were behaving like prophets of doom, claiming, among other things, that Aarto bypasses “normal traffic legislation and tackles offenders in ways which many view as unconstitutional because they deprive citizens of their right to a fair judicial process”.
Mkalipi said it was public knowledge that President Cyril Ramaphosa had established a task team, headed by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, to craft solutions to the e-toll operations.
He said there was nothing unconstitutional with how Aarto was developed and how it would work, saying the Act provided even more protection to lawbreakers to exercise their rights.
According to Mkalipi, Aarto decriminalised the majority of traffic violations so they were dealt with administratively. This meant one would not attract a criminal record for committing a traffic infringement.
“The Aarto Act was primarily designed to promote compliance, which will result in safety on our roads. The law was developed against the backdrop of around 14,000 road users dying on our road network every year. Some occurred due to lack of recourse on habitual infringers,” he said.
Mkalipi said Aarto, through its provisions such as the points demerit system, would track and remove repeat infringers from using the road network and that the Act provided two layers of protection to motorists. He said these layers of protection were RTIA and the infringement appeals tribunal.
RTIA and the department of transport were in the process of finalising the supporting regulations.