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AARTO amendment bill lends itself to failure, corruption not road safety

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) raises its concerns ahead of the parliamentary committee meeting due on Tuesday, 12 February 2019 on Transport which is set to decide the fate of the AARTO amendment Bill.

“The AARTO Bill will not have the desired effect of enhanced road safety as we have seen little change in road users behaviour during the AARTO pilot project run in Tshwane and Johannesburg over the past decade,” says Rudie Heyneke, OUTA’s Transport Portfolio Manager, who added that “the AARTO process is administratively cumbersome and will not succeed in the medium to long term.”

In its current form the Bill paves the way for corruption, it is administratively cumbersome and seeks to accommodate SANRAL’s e-toll collection plight.

The scheme errs by removing the Constitutional rights of a person’s ability to defend him/ herself when being wrongly accused of a traffic infringement. Once caught up in the civil administrative system, the infringer does not have the same Constitutional right as they would be afforded during a criminal process i.e. right to legal representation and a fair trial.

Heyneke indicated other areas of concern in the Act is the financial gain for the government at the expense of the public with regards to the electronic service of documents, and the cancellation of any licence issued in terms of transport legislation when there are outstanding traffic offences against a motorist’s name.

OUTA firmly believes that road safety should be the guiding principles of AARTO’s intent and not a complex administrative system that aims to generate revenue for the state. A more visible policing process is one solution that will go a long way to making our roads safer and more law-abiding motorists.

OUTA held an AARTO workshop on 20 June 2018 to help gather views, frustrations, concerns and suggestions on the Act and Amendments from members of the public and some of the key stakeholders in the transport industry. The RTIA was also invited to participate but withdrew at the last moment. The conclusions of the workshop can be summarized as follows:

Everyone supports the need to support the improvement of road safety and efficiency. It was agreed that AARTO (and the proposed amendments) has major flaws and if these are not addressed the danger is that AARTO will be unworkable.

OUTA urges those members of parliament who will be sitting in this committee to ask the tough questions on whether this Bill is the answer to curbing the traffic offences on our roads and if this Bill will enhance road safety.

OUTA is a proudly South African civil action organisation, that is purely crowd funded. Our work is supported by ordinary citizens who are passionate about holding government accountable and ensuring our taxes are used to the benefit of all South Africans.

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