Soon, we’ll be receiving infringement notices through our social media, and there will be no way to deny it.
When the sheriff comes knocking, we can hide and pretend we’re not home. We can dodge our traffic fines and infringement notices in the mail and just say we didn’t receive it.
That’s all about to change though, because for one, we can’t hide away online…
The AARTO Amendment Bill is currently before the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for final approval. The National Assembly in Parliament has already approved this heinous breach of our constitutional rights. So, this is the last step before it becomes a reality.
The AARTO Amendment Bill will adjust the current provisions of the AARTO (Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences) Act. After the changes have been implemented throughout the country, the roll-out of the dreaded points-demerit system will begin.
AARTO Amendment Bill Refresher
Some drivers may not understand why this Amendment Bill is such a big deal. They always drive below the speed-limit, never get fines and have never been intimidated into bribing away the Metro Police.
Founder and Chairperson of the Justice Project South Africa, Howard Dembovsky, has been particularly vocal about the AARTO Bill. He’s articulated the pitfalls of the situation best.
“This may sound like good news to law-abiding motorists who have grown tired of the lawlessness on our roads, but there are numerous provisions of the currently applicable AARTO Act which, along with the proposed amendments contained in the AARTO Amendment Bill will literally make your hair stand on end.”
The E-Toll situation was a huge debacle and South Africa lost a ton of money. The AARTO Act as it stands, as well as the proposed amendments, will cause nothing short of mayhem. Dembovsky explains that the system is predicated on the automatic presumption that you are guilty, and the onus will be on you to prove yourself innocent.
In the hands of the power-abusing, corrupt traffic officials, this could prove to be hell on earth for all motorists.
So what does the Amendment entail? Here are just some of the key factors you should know about:
1. Notices May Be Served Over Social Media
This is the most surprising. Previously, infringement notices had to be served in person or by registered mail. Now, electronic service will be considered a valid means of service. This includes sending you your notices via email, SMS or via social media.
That’s right, get ready for some unfriendly friend requests and unwarranted inbox messages. Social media could include, but is not limited to Twitter, Facebook or WhatsApp.
Whether you read the notice or not, or whether you have access to social media or not, it doesn’t matter. 10 days after sending, the service will be deemed to have taken place.
2. Your Right To A Fair Trial Is Removed
As soon as a traffic officer issues you with an infringement notice, you’re immediately and automatically regarded as guilty. This means you’re in debt from the start.
We have a constitutional right to a fair trial, and this will now be stripped away. Should you really feel that you’re not guilty of any crimes, they’ll make you jump through hoops to prove it.
You’ll have to issue a written representation to the Road Traffic Infringement Authority, which is defined as a State-Owned Enterprise.
Should your RTIA representation be unsuccessful, and it will, a further R200 is added to the penalty. Because SOE’s are so renowned for honesty, transparency and purity.
If you then still want the matter reviewed, you’ll have to apply for this review with the AARTO Tribunal. This has to be done within 30 days of the RTIA rip-off, and must also be accompanied by a fee which the Minister of Transport, in all his supreme power and wisdom, has the sole discretion to prescribe.
Should your review at the Tribunal fail, and it will, you’ll have to approach the High Court for review, which as you can imagine, probably works out way more expensive than your original fine.
3. Traffic Departments Will Get Away With Mistakes
Let’s say the traffic department fails to serve you with an infringement notice according to AARTO provisions. Then, let’s say that because of the traffic department blunder, your written representation to the RTIA is somehow successful.
The traffic department will then be able to re-issue and serve that infringement notice again. Properly. Provided that it is done within half a year of the alleged infringement date.
So, even when the traffic department is wrong, they’re always right and you’re a lowly criminal.
4. They Will Force You To Pay Up
Should you choose not to play their mind games and dance for them, they’ll nail you anyway. Motorists who choose not to make use of these channels and challenge a traffic violation could receive an enforcement order3 months after the initial notice.
This will prevent them from getting a licence disc or drivers licence card until the penalty and enforcement fees have been paid in full. Enforcement orders also lead to demerit points being applied to your drivers licence.
5. Company Owners Will Have To Throw You Under The Bus
Should you, as a company employee, be served a notice of infringement while driving a company vehicle, your boss will have to come forward and nominate you as the driver within 32 days of the incident. Should your boss fail to do so, demerit points will be applied to their record.
Batten down your social media hatches, motorists, because the above (and more) will probably be signed into law soon. For Western Cape citizens who are opposed to these actions and want to have their say, here is a platform for you to do so.
If we don’t take any action, our inaction will be regarded as tacit agreement with the provisions of the AARTO Amendment Bill.
Closing date is 30 March 2018.
Issued by CompareGuru