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SANRAL explains the AARTO amendments

By Jessica Anne Wood

Submissions for public comment on proposed amendments to the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (AARTO) proposed in the Government Gazette on December 7 2015 closed on 6 January 2016.

According to reports, more than 100 000 people submitted comment to the Department of Transport with regards to these amendments, as they were believed to be an attempt to force road users to pay their outstanding e-toll bills. However, according to the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL), the proposed amendments do not introduce any new provisions.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) called for people to submit their comments following the release of the gazette in December, stating: “The Department of transport has recently published a Gazette (#39482) on 7 December 2015, which requests comment from the public before the closing date of 6 January 2016. OUTA urges the public to participate, as the amendments are impractical and infringe on the motoring public’s rights to defend themselves from an unworkable processes, if the proposed amendments to the regulations are approved.

“This Gazette seeks to amend the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (the AARTO act), in an attempt to make it easier to include e-Toll infringements into the adjudication process by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA).”

SANRAL explains

In a statement released by SANRAL this week it noted that the amendments are meant to be positive for motorists. According to SANRAL the only amendment made to the “provisions relating to toll infringements is the removal of the demerit points for the failure to comply with a toll sign.”

SANRAL  highlighted that failure to pay tolls has been an infringement under AARTO since 2008, and therefore OUTA stating that the proposed amendments are new is incorrect.
Furthermore, the RTIA has proposed that AARTO notices should have the space for more than one infringement, which SANRAL stated is legal. In addition, it has been proposed that an extension of the period for service of an infringement notice is increased from 40 to 90 days to ensure that infringers receive notices within the service period.

Vusi Mona, general manager of Communications at SANRAL, said: “It is a pity, then, that the Opposition to Urban Tolling (OUTA) negates this by its warning about a looming tax revolt. It completely misunderstands the proposed changes and its dire warnings are misplaced. This is a clear case where a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

Mona added: “To connect any of this this with e-tolling is another misjudgement - a multiple charge notice may be used by any issuing authority for any infringements. It is in fact simply a practical amendment that will save administrative and postal costs.”

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