The latest Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) amendment bill was passed in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Howard Dembovsky, head of Justice Project South Africa, said the bill brings with it “pretty ominous provisions with serious implications for holders of driving licences and/or owners of motor vehicles”.
The Act will pave the way for the implementation of the points-demerit system. It has also been weighted in favour of driving traffic fine revenues for authorities, while leaving motorists powerless to defend themselves, said Dembovsky.
The amendments include the removal of the courts from the AARTO process, replacing them with a compulsion to make written representations to the Road Traffic Infringement Authority.
This authority is funded almost entirely by traffic fine revenues and decisions by its officers can be appealed to a new tribunal within 30 days, he said.
Failure to exercise these options within the required timeframe will lead to a block on the issuing of a driving licence or vehicle licence disc, and the imposition of demerit points.
Following the passing of the bill by the National Assembly, the amendment will head to the National Council of Provinces for adoption, after which it will be signed into law by the President.