Planned new road rules leave too much to discretion of functionaries: JPSA

Justice Project SA says a comment period of 30 days is far too short to allow thorough public scrutiny of a complete re-write of regulations pertaining to the act.
Image: Times LIVE

A traffic watchdog organisation has cried foul over the short public comment period on draft regulations for the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Amendment Act.

The regulations are inconsistent with the constitution and are likely to result in further legal challenges, said Justice Project SA chair Howard Dembovsky.

The regulations were published in the Government Gazette on October 11 and can be viewed here.

“The draft regulations provide a more complete picture, which should have been available during the public consultation phases,” Dembovsky said. “But they go far beyond merely amending the existing regulations — they repeal all the existing regulations and create an entirely new set of regulations,” he said.

“The ‘consultations’ held by the national and provincial legislatures when the Aarto Amendment Bill was being discussed centred only on the act,” he said. “But the draft regulations comprise over a hundred pages with scores of new provisions.”

Though an act has been passed by parliament, regulations may be made by the minister without the scrutiny of the legislature. Dembovsky said this practice was flawed and allowed regulation without parliamentary oversight.

The foundations of the Aarto Act are already set to face a constitutional challenge brought by Dembovsky in April 2018. That matter is to be heard in the Pretoria high court in early 2020 and is largely unaffected by the Aarto Amendment Act, which is likely to face its own legal challenges.

“At a first reading, the regulations appear to have been rushed to completion and leave many details to the discretion of functionaries and institutions instead of providing clarity on exactly how the processes outlined in the Aarto Amendment Act are to function,” Dembovsky said. “In particular, the regulations virtually ensure that road users seeking to challenge infringement notices will be confronted with onerous bureaucratic hurdles.”

Dembovsky urged members of the public, especially legal professionals, to scrutinise the draft regulations and submit their comments, objections and suggested amendments before the November 10 deadline.

“In JPSA’s view, a comment period of 30 days is far too short to allow thorough public scrutiny of a complete rewrite of regulations pertaining to the recent extensive rewrite of the Aarto Act,” he said, calling on the transport department to extend the comment period.




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