Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga.
- The Constitutional Court declared Aartu constitutional and said that traffic offense cases should be dealt with at the national and inter-provincial level.
- Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga said its implementation would begin “quickly”.
- Ota says that although constitutional and valid, the Aartu’s Declaration is impractical and the government will struggle to implement it.
While the government welcomed Wednesday’s Constitutional Court ruling declaring the administrative ruling of the Road Offenses Amendment Act (ARTO) constitutional and valid, the Organization for Back Off Tax Abuse (OTA) says it would be impossible for the government to implement. .
The Constitutional Court overturned an order of the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, which was deemed unconstitutional and invalid.
Aarto is legislation that penalizes motorists and their operators who are guilty of traffic or road offenses through a demerit points system, which can result in the suspension and revocation of driver’s licenses.
In a unanimous ruling by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the Supreme Court justices agreed that Artu was constitutional and valid.
Aouta applied to the Constitutional Court asking it to issue a confirmation order for the Supreme Court’s ruling, which deemed the act unconstitutional and illegal.
Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga and the Road Infringement Agency (RTIA) have separately filed notices of appeal in the Constitutional Court.
The minister was opposed to Ota’s request to confirm the matter.
Ota argued in her papers that all road traffic violations are dealt with by the RTIA and the Court of Appeal – the two national state agencies.
This means, the organization said, that the legislation moves enforcement of all road and traffic laws to the national level, thus usurping the exclusive executive jurisdiction of municipalities to enforce road traffic laws within their jurisdiction.
However, the judges rejected Ota’s claim that Arto removed certain powers from municipalities to other state organs.
Zondo said the power to make laws that control traffic or movement on roads necessarily includes the power to enforce those laws, encourage compliance, and discourage non-compliance.
Accordingly, it is the concern of both national and regional departments of government that the system of dealing with the violation of laws relating to road traffic be effective, which is part of what Parliament seeks to do through the Arto Act. These matters must be dealt with at the national and inter-provincial level.
Ota also argued that parliament had no power to pass the law, but Zondo said that parliament had the power to pass the law and make it into law.
In its papers, RTIA said the Supreme Court erred in finding that it was a matter of determining whether the national government had competence to legislate in matters relating to provincial and municipal roads.
She also said that the court erred in finding that the power to enforce traffic laws on municipal roads was historically vested in municipalities.
The Minister for Transport argued that all traffic offenses had previously been administered under the Code of Criminal Procedure and that Arto had been created to improve efficiency.
The minister also said that Artu has put in place a procedure for adjudicating infractions without assuming the enforcement powers of the provinces and municipalities.
In response to the ruling, OTA’s executive director, advocate Stephanie Vick, expressed disappointment with the court order but said she would abide by it.
Ohta believes that measures are urgently needed to improve road safety and reduce fatalities. However, we don’t think Artaud’s Law will achieve this; It is practically not possible. South Africa needs effective processes that are enabled through a fair judiciary that is in line with the constitution.
She also said that the organization believed that the Arto legislation had led to troublesome and complex issues for most motorists and car owners, and expressed concern that this legislation would not achieve its main purpose of promoting road safety.
“An amended Arto Act with higher penalties, tedious and expensive procedures to be followed by the public, and a complete lack of prescription for visible policing will have little or no impact on improving road safety in South Africa,” said Fick.
Ota said she believes the practical challenges in Arto are mainly due to weak enforcement, lack of administrative discipline in managing traffic violations, and various problems in managing vehicle and driving licensing.
Merely enacting a policy does not make it logical or enforceable. Governments often suffer from the misconception that if laws and regulations are enforced, people will comply with them. Irrational and/or impractical laws and a lack of transparency set back society, making systems ungovernable.
“The sad truth is that the government begins to suffer from a crisis of legitimacy when it cannot exercise its power over the people by applying its legislation and policies effectively,” Vick added.
Chikunga, on the other hand, welcomed the ruling, and said it confirms the government’s long-held view that Artu is a necessary law to bolster its efforts in reducing road accidents.
Implementation of Arto across the country had been on hold for 25 years, Chikunga said, with pilots in the cities of Johannesburg and Tshwane.
OTA Executive Director, Advocate Stephanie Vick.
“Having this ruling cleared the way for the implementation of Artaud, we will move quickly to start implementing it nationwide without delay.
“In the coming days, we will work to ensure that the Road Traffic Violation Agency mobilizes the necessary capacity and move forward with plans to roll it out to all municipalities in the country. We are also ready to finalize our recommendations to the President for court appointment and application proclamation of the Arto and the Arto Amendment Act.” .
The minister said the department would also move quickly in implementing the vulnerabilities system, a key cornerstone of the Artaud Act intended to guide the behavior of drivers on our roads.
“We are pleased that this ruling not only removes the uncertainty caused by this legal challenge, but enables us to focus on ensuring our roads are safe for all road users with penalties that make a visible difference,” she said.