South Africa News

Outa: Aarto Act another administrative headache for government

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says the department of transport has proved it was never ready to launch and implement the national roll-out of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act.

This follows Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula’s announcement they were kick-starting the process yesterday and would use a four-phase roll-out to implement the Aarto Act.

“Today, we give a clear account of the challenges experienced which have led to a decision to adopt a phased approach to this critical road safety intervention,” said the minister.

“Recognising that Aarto has been successfully operational in the metros, although with some teething problems that were dealt with, this national roll-out means the entire Aarto Amendment Act 4 of 2019 with regulations is now incrementally being put in force in a phased approach.”

Outa chief executive Wayne Duvenage said the transport authorities were clearly unprepared for the implementation of the Act.

“They are only going to launch the demerit system in a year’s time, so they are clearly not ready,” he added.

“The Act will be another administrative headache for the state and the regulations will be unenforceable and poorly administered.”

The Automobile Association (AA) said it was pleased government had heeded calls to clarify issues relating to the implementation of the Aarto Act.

“However, no real roll-out of the system can occur until the system’s regulations are promulgated,” it said.

“Naturally, the planned implementation of Aarto will not happen today as previously communicated.

“We at least have a better roadmap going forward, but much of that relies on the finalisation of the regulations, which must happen before any meaningful roll-out can occur.”

The association also said it stood by its reservations that aspects of the amendments to the Aarto regulations do not promote road safety but were, instead, geared to revenue collection.

Meanwhile, Mbalula said they were aware of the comments and questions the public had with regards to the Aarto national rollout and the points demerit system.

“This is the reason we have deemed it important to share the struggles that had to be endured to get to the point we are at today.”

However, Outa said it had repeatedly pointed out the problems with this system, which was administratively complicated and relied on chaotic municipal systems.

“Earlier this week, Outa pointed out that the Aarto Amendment Act still did not have a start date so could not be implemented and even if such a date was gazetted at the last minute, the system would fail as the authorities are clearly not ready.

“It now seems likely that Outa’s legal challenge to the constitutionality of Aarto will be heard before the amended Act comes into effect. Our challenge is set down for hearing on 18 October.”

-The Citizen

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