The Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) yesterday found the Aarto Act and its amendment, on which the planned demerit system for traffic offences is based, inconsistent with the Constitution. Consequently, Judge Annali Basson declared the Aarto Act and the Amendment Act ‘unconstitutional and invalid’, reports TimesLIVE.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) brought the challenge in October, arguing that the legislation unlawfully intrudes upon the exclusive executive and legislative competence of local and provincial governments envisaged in the Constitution, preventing them from regulating their own affairs.

Respondents cited in the case were the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Co-operative Governance & Traditional Affairs, the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) and the Appeals Tribunal.

The court ordered the Minister of Transport and the RTIA to pay Outa’s costs, including the cost of two counsel.

Advocate Stefanie Fick, executive director of Outa’s accountability and governance division, said this means that the Aarto rollout will have to be stopped so that the Act can again be amended and taken through the legislative process before it can eventually be implemented.

Fick described Aarto as an administratively complicated process that would be reliant on chaotic municipal systems.

‘We are satisfied that the judgment will be sending government back to the drawing board. This time around, we trust the relevant departments will engage meaningfully with civil society to obtain our input when developing such important policies for the country. SA needs effective processes enabled by fair adjudication that complies with the Constitution.’

Full TimesLIVE report