The Pretoria High Court has ruled that South Africa’s Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act and the Aarto Amendment Act are unconstitutional, according to a report by BusinessTech.
The report states that the court favoured the side of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) which challenged the Act, stating that the legislation unlawfully intrudes upon the exclusive executive and legislative competence of the local and provincial governments envisaged in the Constitution, thus preventing local and provincial governments from regulating their own affairs.
Outa raised concerns and objections around the Act for multiple years, saying that it believes the new legislation will not assist with the lowering of road traffic fatalities in the country.
“It, therefore, follows in my view that the Aarto Act and the Amendment Act must be declared to be inconsistent with the Constitution in its entirety,” said Judge Annali Basson in her ruling.
“It is therefore declared that the Aarto Act and the Amendment Acts are unconstitutional and invalid.”
However, Outa said it expects the government to appeal the ruling.
The Aarto Act aims to introduce a range of new driving rules in the country, and would penalise drivers who infringed on traffic laws by imposing demerit points against their driver’s licence.
These demerit points could lead to the suspension or cancellation of licences, professional driving permits, or operator cards.
Outa and the Aarto
Outa CEO Wayne Duvenhage in a report by EWN said the organisation has attempted to work alongside the government for many years to make sure that the various amendments of the Act are workable and constitutional, but have been ignored.
“[This] left us no alternative but to go to court and have it stopped in its tracks. We’re very pleased with the judge’s ruling,” said Duvenhage.
“It now sends government back to the drawing board on what has become quite a mess.”
“Outa urges the government to listen to the input given by organisations such as Outa when reviewing these acts,” said Outa’s executive director of accountability and governance Stefanie Fick.
“We can assure the public that we will carefully monitor the process to ensure that any revised Aarto acts are constitutional and truly aimed at increased road safety and saving lives.”
The latest news on the Act follows the DA stating in November that it was working on recommendations for the implementation of the country’s new driving laws.