By Andries Cornelissen B. Proc, Practical Legal Training, Accredited and Certified Mediator, International Accredited and Certified Mediator London School of Mediation, Certified and Accredited Conflict Coach, Practicing Associate: The Association of Arbitrators, Certified and Accredited AHI Representative

INTRODUCTION 

After a decade of amendments, the implementation of the controversial Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (AARTO) has been delayed yet again. 

Once enacted, drivers will not only receive fines but also penalty points. 

After 15 penalty points a license will be suspended for a period of three months, with increased time for every point after 15! Let’s say a driver manages to rack up 17 points… this means that their licence will be suspended for a whopping nine months! 

After three suspensions or 36 lifetime demerits, drivers can say goodbye to their licences for good. 

THE ROAD TRAFFIC INFRINGEMENT AGENCY (the RTIA) 

Once you receive a notice for violating one of the 2500 traffic offences, you may send written representations to the RTIA’s Representations Officer in terms of the AARTO 08 process. 

This written representation should provide reasons why you should not be held liable for the alleged traffic infringement.

THE AARTO TRIBUNAL 

Should your written representation not succeed, you may approach the Tribunal. 

Any person who wishes to apply to the Tribunal for appeal or review must do so using the form AARTO 10 and must do so within 30 days of the decision of the Representations Officer.

Unless there are “exceptional circumstances”, the alleged infringer must stick to the contents of their original written representation when applying to the Tribunal. He or she may not introduce new evidence at this stage.

THE MAGISTRATE’S COURT

Should you not be satisfied with the decision of the Tribunal, you may approach the Magistrate’s Court with jurisdiction within 7 days. 

There is no mention in the draft regulations of whether the ruling will be suspended where an alleged infringer approaches the Magistrate’s Court for appeal or review. This differs considerably with all other appeal processes in South Africa’s Courts, where orders are suspended pending the outcome of the appeal.

The draft regulations also regard an appeal to the Magistrate’s Court as the end of the road for an aggrieved motorist. This too differs considerably from other legal matters which are subject to appeal to the High Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court. 

By Andries Cornelissen

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