Aarto declared unlawful but fines remain valid

Source: MyBroadband

Traffic fines issued in Johannesburg and Tshwane still remain valid despite the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act being declared unlawful and unconstitutional by the Pretoria High Court last week.

That is according to a statement from the transport department’s Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), which said that the Aarto Act remained in force until the ruling was confirmed by the Constitutional Court.

The High Court last week declared that Aarto and the Aarto Amendment Act of 2019 “unlawfully intruded upon the exclusive executive and legislative competence of the local and provincial governments”.

While the acts were only set to come into effect nationally from 1 July 2022, parts of Aarto were already in force in the Johannesburg and Tshwane metros when the ruling was made.

This left some motorists questioning whether their existing fines issued in these jurisdictions had become null and void, while the metros also wanted to know whether they were now entitled to the funds collected by RTIA through these fines.

But the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) is yet to bring a confirmation application to the Constitutional Court.

It has been given until 3 February 2021 to lodge this application.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula, however, has stated that his department intends to appeal the High Court judgment.

The RTIA has said its board has also taken a resolution for the agency to join the minister’s appeal.

“Therefore, Aarto implementation continues until the judgment on the constitutionality of the Aarto Act has been subjected to all due legal review processes,” the RTIA said.

The Automobile Association previously said that it could not confirm whether fines that were given under the Aarto Act and its Amendment would be scrapped.

According to its interpretation of the ruling, the Criminal Procedure Act would take precedence once the ruling was confirmed.

That means the relevant authorities in areas where traffic police issued Aarto fines could still prosecute motorists for unpaid fines.

It has advised motorists with outstanding fines to first seek legal advice to contest their validity.

 

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