OUTA’s constitutional challenge to the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (AARTO) and the AARTO Amendment Act were heard today in the Constitutional Court.
Judgment was reserved, which means that the court will give judgment at a later date.
“We are still confident that the judges will consider our argument favourably. AARTO needs to be scrapped and go back to the legislators,” says Advocate Stefanie Fick, OUTA Executive Director.
The Concourt case is a follow-up to the case which OUTA won in the Pretoria High Court in January 2022, when that court declared the AARTO Act and the AARTO Amendment Act to be unconstitutional, on the grounds that the law encroached on provincial and local government executive competencies. The high court’s declaration of unconstitutionality is on hold pending its confirmation by the Concourt. On 3 February 2022, OUTA filed the application in the Concourt for confirmation of unconstitutionality; it is this application which was heard today.
In the Concourt today, OUTA argued that the Concourt should confirm the order of unconstitutionality, which would require Parliament and the Ministry of Transport to redraft or replace the law.
OUTA was represented by Advocate Matthew Chaskalson, SC, and Advocate Emma Webber, instructed by Andri Jennings of Jennings Inc.
The Minister of Transport, the Road Traffic Infringement Authority (RTIA) and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) argued in favour of retaining the law.
The City of Cape Town was admitted as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) and argued against AARTO.
AARTO is the law which moves road traffic infringements out of the ambit of the Criminal Procedure Act and the courts, and into an administrative process. Most of the AARTO law already applies in the City of Johannesburg and the City of Tshwane but not the rest of South Africa; this excludes the demerit system linked to driving licences. The AARTO Amendment Act was intended to roll out the law across the country and add the demerit system.
More information on OUTA’s campaign against AARTO, the parties and
arguments in today’s case, and copies of court papers is here.