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Dear NEASA subscriber

On 12 July 2023, the Constitutional Court dismissed an application by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) for a confirmation of the Pretoria High Court which ruled that the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (AARTO) is invalid and unconstitutional.

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo based the unanimous dismissal of the application, and confirmed the validity of AARTO on the following four arguments:

– AARTO’s first objective is to encourage compliance with the national and provincial laws relating to road traffic while promoting safety. If AARTO falls within the exclusive legislative competence of provincial legislatures, as argued by OUTA, the provincial legislature would not be able to pass legislation, the objective of which is to encourage compliance with national and provincial laws;

– AARTO’s second objective is to encourage the payment of penalties imposed for violations and to allow those with minor infringements to make representations. An infringement is the responsibility of and determined by the courts, and courts are not regulated by provincial laws, therefore a provincial legislature could not pass an act such as AARTO, which falls outside its competencies;

– the third objective of AARTO is to establish a procedure for the effective adjudication of infringements. However, this also falls within the judicial system and therefore within the national sphere of government, not provincial; and

– AARTO’s fourth objective was to alleviate the burden of traffic offenders on the courts. Again, this falls within the competence of the national government and not the exclusive legislative competence of the provincial legislature.

The Court found that, like the National Road Traffic Act, AARTO regulates matters which must be appropriately regulated nationally.

OUTA, on various media platforms, confirmed that it is not too devastated by the judgement, but that they still maintain that AARTO is impractical, due to its inability to address the root causes of road accidents, the very real risk of corruption within its administrative system and the complexity of its implementation. They refer to the fact that e-toll, similarly to AARTO, was also declared legal and valid, and yet it failed spectacularly.

NEASA will keep the public abreast of the developments regarding the implementation and effectiveness of AARTO.

For more information:
NEASA Media Department