Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) has brought it to FleetWatch’s attention that the Western Cape Provincial Parliament will be holding public hearings regarding the AARTO Amendment Bill from Thursday 15 February onwards at various venues and has urged transport operators in that area to attend.
“The AARTO Amendment Bill was assented to by the National Assembly on 5 September 2017, paving the way for the national implementation of the AARTO Act and the introduction of the points demerit system. The only thing standing in its way at the moment is the finalisation of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) process,” says Howard Dembovsky, National Chairman of Justice Project South Africa.
“If you live in the Western Cape, we urge you to go along and have your voice heard on this important piece of legislation. Even if you don’t live in the Western Cape, you may make written submissions,” he says.
Explaining the importance of having your voice heard, Dembovsky explains that the AARTO Amendment Bill seeks to amend many of the current provisions of the AARTO Act in preparation for the national implementation of the AARTO Act, whereafter the long awaited points-demerit system is expected to be introduced.
“This may sound like good news to law-abiding motorists who have grown tired of the lawlessness on our roads but there are numerous provisions of the currently applicable AARTO Act which, along with the proposed amendments contained in the AARTO Amendment Bill will literally make your hair stand on end,” he says.
He cites as an example the fact that the AARTO Act does not interest itself with whether you are guilty or innocent of the infringement with respect to which a traffic officer issues an infringement notice to you.
“Whereas motorists are currently permitted to elect to exercise their constitutional right to a fair trial if they believe they are not guilty, the AARTO Amendment Bill removes this ‘option’ and replaces it with a Tribunal which may only be approached if one makes an unsuccessful written representation.
“Upon such an approach, which must be made within 30 days of the adverse outcome of a representation, the fee prescribed by the Minister of Transport must be paid to the Tribunal for it to review the decision of a representations officer.
“This is by no means the sole provision in the AARTO Amendment Bill that rings the wrong kind of constitutional bells and the Bill and the existing AARTO Act are full of provisions that JPSA believes will fail to pass constitutional muster,” he says.
The AARTO Amendment Bill, 2015 as well as the currently applicable AARTO Act can be downloaded from http://www.wcpp.gov.za/ncop-legislation.