'Aarto Act could be used by Sanral to enforce e-toll compliance'

On Sunday, draft amendments to Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (Aarto) regulations closed for public comment.

Signed into law in August by President Cyril Ramapphosa, the act could result in traffic law offenders losing their licences through the demerit system.

RELATED: 'Aarto Amendment Act takes away right to be tried before an ordinary court'

The Justice Project South Africa warns that the act is a constitutional breach and it could be used by Sanral to enforce e-toll compliance.

Bongani Bingwa chats to the organisation's chairperson Howard Dembovsky to give more insight on the matter.

Dembovsky says motorists should be cautious about this act.

The fundamental problem with the Aarto Act, is that at its foundation it presumes a person to be guilty and then it is up to you to prove yourself innocent. That is completely contrary to the provisions of Section 35,3 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

Howard Dembovsky, Chairperson - Justice Project South Africa

The Aarto Amendment Act states that infringement notices and any other documents required to be served in terms of the act may be served electronically and that electronic service is broad in its definition, he explains.

The Aarto Amendment Act was signed into law on 13 August and the regulations were published for public comment on 11 October. Regulations are what makes the underlying act function.

Howard Dembovsky, Chairperson - Justice Project South Africa

Dembovsky believes that these regulations were hurriedly put together as they contain many grammatical errors.

He says motorist can only defend themselves only in a tribunal.

This tribunal allows for motorists to make applications to it after they have had an unsuccessful written representation to a representation officer employed by the tribunal. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of that tribunal, only then apply to a magistrate's court for a review of the entire process.

Howard Dembovsky, Chairperson - Justice Project South Africa

The regulations say a motorist cannot introduce new evidence when they go to the magistrate court.

The Aarto charge bill has not been repealed by the new draft regulations and subsequently, the charge for driving on a toll road without paying tolls is still there. Essentially Sanral can automate its process and send out infringement notices to people who drive under gantries and not pay tolls.

Howard Dembovsky, Chairperson - Justice Project South Africa

Listen below to the full conversation:


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