The Portfolio Committee on Transport (PC) held a public hearing on the written submissions to the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Amendment Bill. Presentations were made by Ms Alta Swanepoel, a specialist in the field of road traffic and transport legislation, South African Taxi, TASIMA, the Justice Project South Africa, and the South African Local Government Association
Ms Swanepoel said that the AARTO was an effective system which just needed a few tweaks. However, she took issue with the definitions covering the nature of infringements, the use of registered mail, and date of service. She was also concerned about aspects of documentation and the reliance on third parties to serve it, and the fact that no provision was made in the bill to deal with foreign infringers. She said the criminal court system was overburdened, and was not working well. The AARTO system was designed for this. A small number of successful AARTO processes would have an impact on driver behaviour.
SA Taxi said it fully supported AARTO and thought that the intention to make the safety of lives part of the objectives of the act was in line with the good of the country, business and SA Taxi’s customers. The corrective emphasis of the Act was also good. The Act had two important elements. These were the administrative element, which was the section that was run through the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), and the points demerit system.
However, there were some unintended consequences which were created. For example, the act made it clear that a driver whose demerit points had exceeded 12 would be put on suspension for the period equal to those demerits acquired. This would affect most SA Taxi employees, as the lowest category of employee in most businesses were people who did deliveries. As soon as their licences were suspended, it was unlikely that employers would continue to pay individuals who were sitting at home doing nothing. The unintended consequence was job losses and the effect on the dependents of the driver. The Committee asked why SA Taxi did not see the suspension of a driver’s licence as a corrective measure. Why was it characterized as punitive?
The Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) said there were many unconstitutional and problematic provisions in the AARTO Act. These related to the presumption of guilt in the act, the time limitations imposed, the inability of a vehicle owner to nominate the driver in the case of an offence, a registrar who was granted to much power and reviewed his own decisions, the fact that the RTIA could never be an independent entity unless it was completely separated from the profit-making side, there was a legalized avoidance of the point’s demerit system, and the limited geographical roll-out created an inequality before the law from the outset. The AARTO Act was in conflict with other legislation, including the National Road Traffic Act. Corruption and maladministration must be eradicated, traffic law enforcement must come under a national competency, traffic law enforcers must focus on dealing with violations, prosecutions must become effective and an effective points demerit system needed to be implemented urgently.
The Committee took offence to the manner in which the presenter had presented the JPSA’s submission, with some members accusing him of racist behaviour and others claiming that the presentation had been over-dramatised.
The SA Local Government Association (SALGA), said that one of the concerns municipalities had raised after the pilot project in Gauteng had been the issue around systems. One of the challenges was the issue of registered mail and the associated costs, which were a financial burden for them. Municipalities had concerns about the definition of a service. They were not happy with the provision which indicated that the RTIA was authorised to hold money back if the authority did not seem to work within what was prescribed in the Act. A big challenge was the issue of the demerit points system and issues of the repeal of section 25. Socio-economic and political consequences were also associated with the bill. SALGA was one of the entities which advocated the electronic element of serving notices. The big issue at hand with this pertained to the footprint of the country, which had vast rural areas. A national rollout would include remote places where internet provision was not up to scratch.
The presenters were all thoroughly interrogated by Members of the Committee, and provided further input to support their submissions.
Ms Alta Swanepoel: presentation
Ms Alta Swanepoel, of Alta Swanepoel & Associates cc, which specialises in the field of road traffic and transport legislation and does training of both traffic officials and the transport industry, told the Committee she was making the presentation in her personal capacity.
She said that the first clause in the bill related to the definitions. The definition of infringement had been changed. In the current definition, there was no scope in the provision to allow for other entities to be issuing authorities under the AARTO legislation. A number of authorities were allowed to issue AARTO infringement notices. It would make sense to add a provision which allowed for other authorities to be accommodated in the bill.
Pertaining to the definition of infringement, she said that the original definition of infringement meant a major or a minor infringement. That had been taken out of the bill to mean an infringement was any act of omission or contravention of this act or road traffic legislation. If one extended the entities that were allowed to issue notices, it would be necessary to extend the infringement definition as well. If one was going to group the offences and infringements that related to traffic cases, it was sensible to have all of them under one piece of AARTO legislation.
With regard to registered mail, she said that currently registered mail was not defined anywhere in the legislation and as such one would use the traditional definition of it. For future purposes, some form of definition for registered mail was needed. The whole purpose of registered mail was that if one could track mail, one could see where it was in the process. The term used in the legislation was not defined in the Post Office’s legislation, so it would be prudent for the legislation to have a definition.
Pertaining to the definition of date of service, currently the definition read that it was the date on which a person signed the documents. The AARTO legislation allowed for service by way of presumption. If one did not pick up documents, it was considered after ten days that he had been served with the document. Such a definition needed to be expanded as well.
In section 13 paragraph C, she said that the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) functioned a bit like a national prosecuting authority. Prosecution was, however, a service which was provided by the state. If RTIA generated its own funds and worked well in prosecuting, then it would work itself out of budget. It was necessary to look on a wider basis. The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) Act had already recognised this problem. A lot of people and industries were now relying on bad driving on roads, which was a really bad situation.
With regard to section 21 of the Act, she said that it should be deleted all together, as she had concerns with it. This legislation stated that one went through the minimum AARTO process of an infringement notice, a courtesy letter and an enforcement order, which blocked one getting any documentation, and after that the authorities could issue a warrant of execution. Unfortunately, South Africa had a lot of people in the country who were not really worried about documentation or whether it was up to requirements. If the entire section 21 were repealed, it would mean that the only teeth the RTIA had was to block peoples’ documentation on the system. There was one option which could be used, and that was vehicle impounding, which was used in other states.
She said that section 34 was not in the original bill. The problem was that currently the RTIA and the issuing authorities had to rely on third parties to serve documents. If the failure to service was with a third party organisation, it put the whole system in jeopardy. In certain instances, it was necessary to give ministers additional powers in terms of the legislation to simulate instances where the opportunity was given to the issuing authorities and RTIA to service documents. She suggested that power be given to the Minister to do something like that. It would furthermore help in situations where e-mails were sent and they had failed.
Ms Swanepoel did not agree with Section 35, which basically stated that where AARTO was in place, one could not continue prosecuting people under the Criminal Procedure Act because that would just be unfair. What the amendments wanted to do was to remove the term ‘offence,’ which was the opposite of what she thought should happen. If one had committed an offence under the AARTO Act, then when AARTO was in place in a specific authority, one should not be charged and summoned to court.
She said that there were other more general issues at hand. One of the big problems traffic officers had was with foreign infringers. There was no provision in the legislation which dealt with that. Other states had spot fines and border checks, where foreign offenders would need to pay. South Africans had no spot fines system and had no foreigners’ details on its system. This would need to be addressed so that South African drivers were not treated disproportionately. Furthermore, there were issues with diplomats.
Ms Swanepoel said that if AARTO was properly implemented, with perhaps a few tweaks, it could be effective. Revenue should not be the reason why such legislation was or was not implemented. The criminal court system was overburdened, and was not working well. The AARTO system was designed for this. A small number of successful AARTO processes would have an impact on driver behaviour.
Mr C Hunsinger (DA) said that he was concerned about the suggestion on the immobilization of vehicles and asked if there was any other better solution in this regard, because it was very radical. On the spot fines and corruption, what suggestions could Ms Swanepoel make for alignment so that it could work? He was concerned that there was no system to record foreign offenders. This could lead to a difference in treatment and an economic implication for local transport companies. Did she believe that the AARTO system, with her considerations, would change driver behaviour in the country?
Mr M Ramatlakane (ANC) asked about the immobilisation of vehicles, and if there were any alternative methods. On the submitted document, point 7 spoke of the people who did not process the documents and drivers’ licences. He asked her what she was really saying in that section. In the definitions she had spoken about, these were fairly elastic and wide, and he asked if this was the right way for making laws. On the new amendment concerning power and regulations, he needed clarity on her statement of unforeseen circumstances. What was she suggesting? Did she see reissuing twice, three times or four times as a solution? In terms of fairness, the provision of the act needed to be fair. The Committee did not want a “leave it alone” attitude, with dual provisions affecting people. Was elasticity in definitions a good way to make law?
Mr G Radebe (ANC) asked what guarantees there were to ensure that if someone’s car was immobilised, that person would not just go and use someone else’s car. Taxi drivers were a good example of this. How would immobilisation of vehicles be enforced in such situations? The good intention of the bill was to provide a behavioural change and reduce accidents. It was not about those who made money out of the unfortunate road accidents which Ms Swanepoel had spoken about. Behavioural change happened when attitudes changed, and these took a while to change. How could better ways of changing behaviour be implemented to assist the advancement of the legislation?
Mr T Mulaudzi (EFF) asked if someone committed a very serious offence that caused an accident and someone died, when would that conduct be merged into the Department in such a way that it affected the demerit points system. Would the relationship between the Criminal Procedure Act and AARTO be merged in order to punish the behaviour of such drivers in terms of AARTO?
Mr M Sibande (ANC) said he was concerned at the statement that many road users did not have legal documents. What were her views and suggestions to sort out this issue? He was worried about the lack of liability on foreign drivers, and asked for Ms Swanepoel to elaborate on how to assist in this regard.
Ms Swanepoel’s response
Ms Swanepoel said that in the existing act, it actually stated that the authorities had the right to immobilize the motor vehicles. She understood the Committee’s concern, and said that there were many people out there who were worried about their documentation. The original legislation did say that if a person did not comply with the legislation, and despite the fact that that person had an enforcement order and was blocked on the system and could not get documentation but continued not to comply, it was possible to withdraw and charge that person in terms of the criminal system through the court process. The legislation did not cater for another process after the enforcement order. Unfortunately, there were a number of people out there who needed another process.
She said that currently the immobilization of motor vehicles could happen in a number of ways. The vehicles could be impounded and taken to a specific place and kept there and was thus exposed to the risk of damage, which the government would have to pay for. There was also clamping the vehicle, where the owner remained responsible for the vehicle.
With regard to the foreign offenders, she said that South Africa had a cross-border agency which was responsible for issuing documents to truckers, buses and taxis from South Africa to other countries. They had South African drivers’ details, but not foreigners’. South Africa had agreements with neighbouring states. When it came to bilateral and multilateral agreements, the foreigners came from the borders and it was possible to trace the information by way of their agencies. There was no additional information on private people coming into the country, such as addresses.
She suggested that South Africa could implement a spot fine system which was integrated nation-wide and centralised to handle the situation. A national contraventions register could be established, which was not a hard or impossible process. At the border post, when an infringer wanted to leave the country, the driver’s vehicle licence number would pop up and in that way officials could be informed of offence and require payment of the fine.
On the issuing question, she said that under the current system if one was issued with a notice, then the authorities had three years to deal with the document after that. Once it was sent, there was no need to prove that it had been received. Any ticket that was issued, and a section 56 notice, never expires, which was a problem. Different magistrates had come up with different periods, times and dates for authorities to deal with this issue. In the existing criminal procedures system, traffic fines did not die -- they stayed on the system and could be reissued at any stage. To try and stop that from happening, the AARTO legislation was doing it exactly the other way. If one has not been served in 40 days after having committed an infringement, the infringement basically dies and there was no way of resurrecting it again. She thought this was too much of a reaction to the criminal procedure problem. With regard to the change of attitudes, she said that AARTO would definitely do that. Even if only 50 cases were finalised a day, it was going to create a huge level of difference.
Mr M de Freitas (DA) asked for clarity on the traditional registered mail, and how it would hold up in a criminal court as proof of delivery. He said that with the spot fine, he was concerned that it would open the door for corruption. How would these officials be accountable to ensure that there would be no more corruption? There were a few problems which he had picked up from listening to the presentation: legislation was not being enforced in the manner it should, there was a lack of coordination between key entities, and there was no single database. He asked for comment on that.
Ms Swanepoel said AARTO would address the database situation. The moment it was implemented, all road traffic fines would be recorded on the national road traffic offenders’ register. That would deal with the issue. With regard to corruption, she said it was one of those things, but that officers would have a way of notifying authorities if potential bribes were made, and it would be recorded. If officers were not properly trained and did not do what they were supposed to be doing, the corruption would remain. With regard to electronic mail, as far as the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act was concerned, electronic communications were allowed to be used as a form of service. AARTO legislation was playing catch up, as this was already something within the judiciary system.
Mr Ramatlakane asked her to expand on the things that would not be covered in the act, but would be covered by the regulations. How would one deal with the principal act where there was a gap on a particular issue? He asked for clarity on the spot fines.
Ms Swanepoel said that section 34 needed to be extended to allow the minister to do something like that. The minister would not be allowed to make regulations unless that power was given. The public participation would be part of the Act, allowing the minister to make such an administrative provision. With regards to foreigners and diplomats, she said the idea was to not charge the diplomats for anything, but was just to create a place where traffic authorities could actually deal with diplomats who did not comply with the legislation. Methods could be developed to handle the situation of foreign offenders, such as spot fines or collecting them at border points. Special provisions could be added in the legislation.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Swanepoel and asked South African Taxi for their presentation.
SA Taxi: Presentation
Mr Bonisile Makubalo, Executive Director: Corporate Affairs, South African Taxi (SA Taxi), said that SA Taxi's view was a layman's attempt to talk about what it thought were the unintended consequences of the Act. However, it subscribed to and fully agreed with what the Act attempted do in the country. SA Taxi thought it played a very important role within the economy and believed that it was the largest deliverer of specific taxi vehicles in the country, and the African continent.
SA Taxi represented a group of about 35 000 vehicles on its books, with 18 000 portfolios on insurance, of which 2 000 were not financed by SA Taxi. SA Taxi was representing these clients as well as itself as a business, pertaining to unintended consequences.
SA Taxi fully supported AARTO and thought that the intention to make the safety of lives part of the objectives of the act was in line with the good of the country, business and SA Taxi’s customers. The corrective emphasis of the Act was also good. SA Taxi thought the Act had two important elements. These were the administrative element, which was the section that was run through the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), and the points demerit system.
SA Taxi emphasised that they would speak of the unintended consequences, but not necessarily attack the good intentions of the law. SA taxi made reference of the courtesy letters and the Chapter 3 section 19, sub-section 1 of the Act, where there was a clear guideline on how those would be administered. In the public space, there had been issues around this and the law had also been attending to this matter. SA Taxi hoped that the amendment would deal with it.
SA Taxi said that it wanted to make a point to the Committee based on the experience that it had over the period, dealing with customers. It had observed that the current justice system seemed to give SA Taxi the best results, as opposed to the electronic system, because such things as the losing of sim cards were frequent.
With regard to the modification of chapter 4, SA Taxi believed that there had been a weakness in the current system of dealing with infringements, so it supported the AARTO act. In the past, it had to deal with the challenge of individuals who benefited from drivers who were committing infringements which had a monetary impact, such as overloading and speeding. The law was thus important and correct, but there were some points which the Committee needed to realise.
For example, with regard to chapter 4, an important concern which SA Taxi had was that there were unintended consequences if one had to look at sections 20 and 25. This section of the act made it clear that a driver whose demerit points had exceeded 12 would be put on suspension for the period equal to those demerits acquired. An unintended consequence was that this would affect most of SA Taxi employees, as the lowest category employees in most businesses were the people who did deliveries. The likely scenario was that if employees were unable to work because their licences had been suspended, SA Taxi did not foresee a possibility that employers would continue to pay individuals that would be sitting at home. That was a potential unintended consequence that would lead to job losses. This would also have an effect on the dependents of these drivers. SA Taxi said it did not have concrete suggestions on how problems could be dealt with, but would be happy to engage in a process with the Committee on possible ways to deal with corrective behaviour on the individual, without losing the income of the household.
With regard to the City of Tshwane and Johannesburg pilot projects, SA Taxi hoped that the lessons which had been learned would be shared across the country. SA Taxi believed that it would be in the interests of everyone to ensure that the AARTO Act would be implemented consistently throughout the country, and therefore the administrative efficiencies and resource issues picked up in the pilot needed to be addressed. If the law was implemented differently in different parts of the country, constitutional issues would arise.
With regard to issue of investment, Mr Makubalo said that SA Taxi thought there was potential. If one looked at chapter 4, section 25 and 27, the three elements identified by the act were the driver’s licence, the Professional Driving Permit (PRDP) and the vehicle operator card. SA Taxi had provided the opportunities for funding the taxi industry on the basis of SA Taxi approaching it as a business. SA Taxi was not financing consumption, but rather wealth creation. The challenge was that if a vehicle operator card was suspended, the basis on which SA Taxi assessed the liability of the business would grind to a halt. This was of concern, because for SA Taxi it was a business and an investment risk in a very important industry. 68.8% of commuters used taxis as a mode of transport.
The second element of potential impact on business was two-pointed. One element was based on chapter 4 sub-section 3, on the access to information. Among the letters that insurers used for their risk tables was the risk attending to the driver. If one had a demerit system which was moving, it meant that the risk attendant to that driver would also be moving. Of concern to SA Taxi was the National Credit Act around the issue of affordability.
SA Taxi suggested that on the operator card, mechanisms could be developed where the owner whose vehicle responsible for the infringement was still penalized, but the penalty was not such that the business, or the vehicle or the operator card became suspended. Maybe there could be fines.
The Chairperson commented that SA Taxi's industry was going to be the hardest hit, because it was an industry which sometimes forgot that there were laws in the country.
Mr Radebe said that he supported one of SA Taxi’s ideas -- that South Africa needed one traffic agency. This would help South Africa a great deal. There would be consistency. Most of the accidents in the country were caused by taxis, and that there were many taxis that were un-roadworthy. The attitudes of taxis owners were not right, and this produced problems. AARTO was legislation to tie up loose ends and not to take away bread from anyone. What was the commitment taxis were giving the Committee to make sure that all taxis were roadworthy and abided by the law. How should the Committee and SA Taxi go about dealing with such issues?
Mr Ramatlakane said that the perspective he had listened to in the presentation was almost the perspective that spoke about representing a class. He asked why SA Taxi did not see a suspension of a driver’s licence as a corrective measure. Why was it characterized as punitive? If SA Taxi was not going to deal with it, who would take responsibility behind the wheel and drive in a manner which the law stipulated?
With regard to the potential constitutional challenges, he asked why SA Taxi had this concern. Did SA Taxi have experience of an inconsistent application of law and were now becoming alarmed that another piece of legislation was coming? This was a national act applicable to everyone and every region in the country. SA Taxi had made a case with regard to the operating cards, which was an investment case, but asked between the two -- the investment and business risk or fatalities -- how did SA Taxi measure the importance of these? With regards to changing the suspension to a fine, did SA Taxi think it was going to be a sufficient corrective measure? The current fine system had almost failed.
Mr Mulaudzi asked which constituency SA Taxi was representing. He said the main objective of AARTO was to deal with habitual offenders, and the taxi authorities had failed to manage drivers. The Committee did not care about losing jobs, funders and insurance. It could not massage SA Taxi on the deaths which were occurring as a result of taxi accidents, and the law was there to promote safety. The demerit system did not start at 12 points, but was accumulated according to the manner in which someone drove. There were very many anarchistic drivers out there. SA Taxi’s presentation could not hold water, and he thought the organisation should just support the Committee. He said that in fact, 12 points were to much for taxi drivers, and this needed to be slashed to five, because they were carrying more people. It was either taxi drivers behaved, or out they jump.
Mr Sibande said that his worry was that at time the leadership was well informed, but the people on the ground, like taxi drivers, remained uninformed. How would SA Taxi transform and take initiatives to taxi drivers and workshop people on the ground? How would SA Taxi get people on board to support the AARTO on the ground, since it said it supports the bill. He said that South Africa was a country which Africa and the world looked to, so better law compliance was a necessity.
Mr Hunsinger asked if SA Taxi had ever considered the income protection insurance option that insurance companies had. In May 2016, 42 taxi associations in Gauteng owed over R4 billion of fines to the government. Under these circumstances, impounding was something that needed to be dealt with. Had SA Taxi dealt with that and the loss of income under those circumstances? How did this risk change under AARTO, because SA Taxi already dealt with and carried that risk.
The Chairperson asked about the potential constitutional conflict. What did SA Taxi mean by geographic location? Did road drivers in the industry need to be trained regarding AARTO issues?
Mr Makubalo said that SA Taxi was not South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) or the National Taxi Alliance, but represented both. SA Taxi did not represent the structure, but the members to whom finance was provided. Indeed, SA Taxi and other important players had to deal with the lawlessness on the roads. Most of SA Taxi’s investment came from international capital markets and investors often googled the country or research houses to do research on the country. SA Taxi wanted to deal with the positive and developmental role of the industry and were partners of this House. He said they were not abdicating responsibility for the bad of which the industry did, and hence they agreed with the purpose of AARTO, but had spoken about the unintended consequences.
He said that the lessons which had come out of the pilot project had not been shared. The pilot had happened in an urban city environment, and one would not expect the resources around the piloted cities to be the same in rural settings. Were the processes of correction in rural and urban areas going to be the same, and how was this going to be done?
Academic studies had shown that the number of accidents were fewer in the taxi industry if one compared the average kilometers travelled versus other motorists. However, the point still remained true that whenever an accident happened in the taxi industry, multiple injuries and fatalities happened. The issue of the carnage was relevant to the point that had been raised. SA Taxi was thus not disassociating itself from the purpose of the AARTO Act. SA Taxi had looked at the unintended consequences of the Act.
He said that suspension was not taken as punitive for the driver, but as corrective. The whole law was corrective in nature. It was the unintended consequences that had been raised in that specific case within an employment environment. The law was corrective in dealing with the matter. Government was correct, but SA Taxi were bringing to light the other affected areas.
With regard to operator cards versus fatalities, he said that one death was one too many in the country. When the operator card of a vehicle was suspended, the impact was not only on the reckless driver, but also the family. The vehicle was a means of living for the family, and had now grinded to a halt. SA Taxi believed the Act would be correct in finding mechanisms for a change between drivers and owners of taxis. SA Taxi suggested that the owners be fined so that they could stop benefiting from the breaking of the law, and not just the driver.
Pertaining to the transfer of information, he said that as a lender, SA Taxi’s responsibilities were directly linked with the owner, who was at times the driver or an employee. SA Taxi engaged with customers on an ongoing basis through call centres, mail and even mobile offices. This was a vested interest for SA Taxi and its customers. SA Taxi did not have a role in toyi-toying, but took a stance that this was detrimental to investment in the taxi industry. SA Taxi discouraged such activity. SA Taxi welcomed the invitation for increased interaction. With regard to geographic locations, he said this meant the different local municipalities throughout the country.
He added that SA Taxi provided a one-month income protector, and was affected by the extensiveness of the fund that SA Taxi was drawing out of premiums, and the period to cover the loss of income. It was correct that there was an element of habitual non-payment of funds. Now there was a specific targeted approach to deal with this. Furthermore, there was no extended period of impounding and owners could go and pay immediately and get their vehicles out. SA Taxi monitored the vehicles on an on-going basis as one of the support measures. If there were no movement reports which SA Taxi could pick up, it phoned the owner to check up on what was going on.
Mr S Xego (ANC) asked if SA Taxi thought there would be any unintended consequences when the bill was introduced. A driver was just given keys and a verbal instruction. There was no formal contract.
Mr Makubalo said that SA Taxi was representing a business which was financing the taxi industry. Unintended consequences were being spoken about pertaining to drivers that were employed formally to do deliveries, and not just in the taxi industry.
Mr Gert van Eeden, General Manager: Software Development and Infrastructure of eNatis within TASIMA, said the national contraventions register, as defined in the AARTO Act, meant the National Traffic Information system on which the offence details of every individual were recorded in terms of the Act. The National Traffic Information System was known as eNaTIS . One of the AARTO regulations determined that in these regulations, any word or expression which had been defined in the Act, or has that meaning or expression defined in the National Road Traffic Act, 1996 or the Road Traffic Regulations, 2000 has that meaning. The AARTO Act had been promulgated in 1998, nine years before the definition of eNaTIS was inserted the road traffic regulations.
With regard to the implications of AARTO, Mr Van Eeden said that the replacement of the definition of the national contraventions register with the definition of National Road Traffic Offences Register (NRTOR), as per the AARTO Amendment bill, would imply that the name of the system had changed, the reference to the National Traffic Informations Systems (eNaTIS) had been removed and the entity responsible for administration of the AARTO system would change from the National Department of Transport (NDoT) to the RTIA.
He noted that from paragraph 5.6 of the memorandum on the objects of the AARTO Amendment Bill meant that anyone may derive that it was the intention of the Minister, the NDoT and RTIA to establish a completely different system (NRTOR) which would provide similar functionalities as already provided for on the eNaTIS. The registrar of the RTIA in a letter stated that the change was merely a naming convention change and that there was no intention to replace the national contraventions register as provided for on the eNaTIS currently.
He noted that a future Registrar would use the replacement of the definition of the national contraventions register with the definition of the National Road Traffic Offences Register as an opportunity to develop a completely separate system for AARTO, whilst eNaTIS already provided for all AARTO functionality.
He claimed that a new system would be very costly for the country, and had significant time implications for the long overdue roll-out of AARTO. The investment provided by the country for the national contraventions register would be fruitless and wasteful. The functionality of AARTO was so closely integrated with that of the eNaTIS system that it did not make business sense to have separate systems. The number of interface transactions would require an impractical solution.
It recommended that to remove any uncertainty now or in the future with regard to the appropriate system to be used to meet AARTO requirements as per the AARTO Act, that the National Road Traffic Offences Register should rather be read as the National Traffic Information System, in which the details of infringements and offences of every infringer were recorded in terms of the Act.
Mr Hunsinger said that the report and presentation had been very comprehensive. He had two points of concern. In terms of the remark under “status,” which read “not optimally operative”, he was concerned with that and the comment about implementing the eNaTIS “step by step”, and “let’s not rush”. Both remarks represented a huge hesitation. This had been in the pilot phase since 2008. What had the pilot project been -- what had been tested and contested, what had worked and not worked? This was a huge embarrassment for decision-making. He asked for the progress on the constitutional court judgment.
Mr De Freitas said he was shocked to hear how long it had taken to handle the situation which Mr Hunsinger had spoken about. It had been going on for years. What had been done so far? When the Department was present, could the RTIA include in the report their views on this and the mailing issue?
Mr Radebe said he viewed this presentation as a challenge. The Department needed to update the Committee on progress on the transfer of eNaTIS. The presentation indicated that TASIMA wanted to continue to go deeper into the pockets of government and loot everything it could get. This could not be allowed. The country was facing a very serious time right now, and if everyone had to tighten belts, then everyone needed to do so, including TASIMA and the private sector.
Mr Sibande asked for clarity on whether the eNaTIS systems were speaking to each other. He was concerned about infringement on cameras and speed traps, and ask TASIMA to expand on this. Why had the processes of implementation taken so long?
Mr Mulaudzi wanted to know how TASIMA helped the system, how secure the information was, and how it kept the information. The Committee would like this system to be separated for now until the eNaTIS was owned fully by the government. AARTO needed to be implemented 100%, without the blackmail which had previously been seen with eNaTIS.
Mr Ramatlakane expressed concern that there was piece of legislation which needed to be dealt with and improved through hearing public inputs. What the Committee was not doing was mediating the exchange between the Department of Transport on historical issues, nor should this process be engaged with conflicted viewpoints. Some of the issues raised in the presentation had been interest-based. It would be disingenuous to present something to the Committee masked as an improvement to legislation when indeed it was not, but based only on one’s own interests. A lot of arguments in the presentation had been interest-based arguments. All documents would be considered, but the masking was fairly disingenuous. The Committee would interact with the Department on some of the concerns that had been raised.
Ms D Carter (COPE) asked what TASIMA estimated a new system would cost and how long it would take to actually successfully implement it. Why would the eNaTIS system not fail, and why had Mr Van Eeden thought that its recommendations had been ignored?
Mr Van Eeden responded that at the end of the day, eNaTIS was still a government system. It was owned and invested in by the government.
Mr Denesh Naran, Chief Executive Officer; TASIMA, said that TASIMA would welcome a separate session where the Committee could email all the issues and it could come well prepared to deal with matters of law. With regard to the ConCourt matter, TASIMA were still awaiting the outcome. There had been three other contempt of court applications and there had been another one the next day. The presentation had been made in the context that TASIMA was in a transfer mode and the ConCourt was to pronounce on the manner of the transfer that needed to take place. eNaTIS remained a state system, and it had rich functionality which operated about 500 billion transactions a year.
Mr Van Eeden said that regarding the step by step implementation, the system was ready to be implemented at any issuing authority in the country. The step by step implementation was more on the operational issues. There was new legislation and effects which needed to be noted. If something like this was implemented overnight in all issuing authorities, operational issues would arise. The system was available and working. The step by step approach would allow for AARTO processes to be implemented properly. It was not that there was hesitation, or the system was not ready. The system was ready, but from an operational point of view, a step by step approach was best.
With regard to everything tested in the pilot, the system had managed infringement notices, parking notices, cameras, AARTO 1 notices, and courtesy letters and enforcement orders were issued. There were still enforcement orders in the system which had been issued at some stage. People who went to re-licensing their vehicles found their licence disc was blocked. The system had warrants of arrest, court trials and full process. The system was fine and operational, and he did not know why it had taken so long to roll out. The RTIA could answer this.
Mr Van Eeden said that his evolvement with the system was always based on honesty, integrity and doing that which was best for the system and country. eNaTIS needed a one day session just to have clarity on what it was. eNaTIS was run everywhere, at all government licences testing centres and traffic departments nationwide. It was one system, and all the information was in there.
He said that all the work being done was in a state-owned system, and government invested money into eNaTIS. If people did not pay their Criminal Procedure Act spot fines, then 500 court cases would be issued for that day, and there was no capacity in the court system to deal with this.
TASIMA was a contractor making the system available. It did not operate the system or sell information. He was not sure where such claims came from. There were many organisations which had access to the system. TASIMA worked on a contract basis, where people were invoiced and were paid accordingly. A day was needed with the Committee to clarify such issues.
With regard to the separation of the system, if it was the intention of AARTO to separate the national offences register from eNaTIS, one would assume that the memorandum from the bill would go into great length and explain the problems and motivations of why the system needed to be separated, and address the financial implications. Separation of the systems would lead to complexities which would be hard to resolve.
He said that TASIMA were not opposed to the amendment, but suggested clarification in the definition of a national offences register. AARTO was important, but was its intention to strengthen the system or separate the system? Furthermore, all provinces were using the eNaTIS system and it was integrated nationally.
Mr Hunsinger asked if the national traffic offences register used a different software programme than eNaTIS under the National Contraventions Register (NCR).
Mr Van Eeden said that the NCR was part and parcel of the same software of the register of vehicles and drivers. It was the same software and database, which was historical and integrated.
Mr Hunsinger asked how much of this more or less similar software had also been piloted.
Mr Van Eeden said that the pilot had been run on eNaTIS.
Justice Project South Africa: presentation
Mr Howard Dembovsky, Chairperson: Justice Project South Africa (JPSA), said that the JPSA had been established to deal with and protect the rights of motorists. It dealt primarily with road traffic law and road traffic law enforcement and was formed in 2008 against the backdrop of mounting abuses in road traffic law enforcement and alarming levels of corruption. This needed to be borne in mind in considering whatever was done in road traffic law enforcement.
JPSA had since played a pivotal in educating its members and those of the public and getting rid of the misinformation being spread around in various circles, especially when it came to road traffic law. People were often told wait for the summons because until such time that the summons was sent to one, it meant nothing. Unfortunately, that kind of thinking had infiltrated the South African mentality from a long time ago. One of the JPSA's core functions was to strive for an effective and ethical track of law enforcement, free of corruption, by acting as a watchdog over authorities who unfortunately often abused powers and did not follow procedures as they were supposed to. If one wanted to speak of road traffic legislation, one needed to speak about road safety and nothing else.
Mr Dembovsky said that the introduction of a points demerit system in South Africa had been suggested in the 1950's. This legislation was more that six decades overdue. South Africa was sitting in a terrible situation, as people were dying on its roads. The AARTO Act was now 18 years old, and as such was old enough to both drink and drive, which was something that people tended to do on the roads. The JPSA were vocal in supporting the introduction of a points demerit system and had been doing this for ages, and speaking about driver remedial programmes.
With regard to the repeal of section 21 of the AARTO Act, which was concerned with the warrant of execution, he completely disagreed with the entities which had presented earlier. It was unconstitutional to start with, it should have never been in the AARTO Act, and it was wonderful news that it had been repealed. The idea of immobilizing peoples’ motor vehicles without actually defining immobilizing might actually mean several things, such as going to one’s motor car, opening the bonnet and ripping out the battery. Caution needed to be applied with words when coming up with loose legislation.
Mr Dembovsky said that unfortunately, this was the only positive that JPSA could see in the AARTO Amendment Bill. The bill still appeared to be the autocratic adjudication of road traffic offences, as opposed to administrative adjudication. What the JPSA did not welcome in the bill was that despite having more than two years to address the draft pertaining to the unconstitutional and problematic issues which existed in the Act, all that the bill was doing was to reduce the input costs for traffic fine issuing authorities and the Agency, which would thereby increase profits. If making money out of traffic fines was the norm, then South Africa would never ever stop the situation it had on its roads. It could never be about revenues and making money.
With regards to electronic services, he said that the proposed definition of the electronic service was nonsensical as it blindly ignored each and every fundamental principle of law in so far as it related to the service of legal documents. It furthermore presumed that all licensed drivers and vehicle owners were financially privileged enough to own a smart phone, to have internet access and to live in an area where one could get a cell phone signal, let alone internet access. Was this legislation not saying that traffic offences were committed by bourgeoisie society, as it had been said with e-tolls? It provided for an unintended consequence of epic proportions, as it gave internet scammers a huge additional opportunity to rip people off. Cyber crime was a very real problem in South Africa and was not being tackled correctly.
Furthermore, the electronic service would also have a knock-on effect on the state of the law in general in South Africa. He pleased with the Committee that the AARTO Act was not being contemplated in isolation from other laws that existed in South Africa. There was the National Credit Act, which under section 129 required lending institutes to send final demands to people via registered letter. The second this Act was implemented, it would have a knock on effect. It could be interpreted as national legislation, and if service by text SMS was good enough then unscrupulous lenders were going to text people, putting their houses on auction and selling them for 1/20th of the value of those houses. We must not be reckless.
Pertaining to the importance of proper service, he said that under the AARTO Act, each and every process was reliant wholly and solely upon service, and the service of documents. Without those documents being serviced, none of the processes under the AARTO Act could take place. Legal service of documents was regulated by the Magistrates Court Act, the Superior Court Act, the uniform rules of supreme court practice, the Criminal Procedure Act, the Interpretation Act and the Electronic Transactions and Communications Act. All these other acts in South Africa had to take the lead for the new legislation in order to ensure proper definitions.
With regard to reliance on the presumption of service, he said it had unfortunately become the habit of the RTIA. The Agency relied almost solely on it at the moment. In almost every instant where the Registrar had issues and an enforcement order against an accused person over the past five financial years, it was quite evident that neither the infringement notice nor the courtesy letter had been served to the accused. This was evidently sent by the South African Post Office’s secure, but not registered, mail.
With regard to the presumption of guilt, nowhere in the Act did it say that the infringer should be regarded as innocent until proven guilty, which was a constitutional provision. The AARTO Act held the exact opposite and none of the Agency’s sanctions after an infringement notice could proceed unless one actually regarded the person as being guilty until proven innocent. That was completely unconstitutional. He added that the Department was particularly fond of violating the constitution.
The AARTO Act attempted to get around the unconstitutional presumption of guilt by providing the so-called elective option. Once document service had occurred, one had the opportunity to nominate the driver or the person in control of that vehicle within 32 days of service. If one did not nominate that person within 32 days, one could no longer do so. Therefore one would have to admit guilt or stand trial on behalf of another person who had committed an offence. The other options pertained to paying a fine in monthly instalments. Obviously if one admitted guilt, one needed to incur a sanction, but where did it say in the National Credit Act that one could extend credit with a person without checking their ability to pay? All these options were based on action being taken by the accused. Since when did one hear of a suspected murderer being sent a letter by registered mail or email or text, saying report to the police station and if you do not report, you are found guilty. How could traffic law enforcement be thrown into that kind of disarray? On that score, how disingenuous was it for anyone to summon 500 people to court, knowing that only 20 were going to pitch up.
With regard to the issue of enforcement orders by the Registrar, this had the effect of blocking the issuing of the following documents: a person’s driving licence, a professional driving permit and a vehicle licence. It also had the effect of applying the points demerit system, once the points demerits were applicable to that infringement. All of this happened in the complete absence of any trial and any evidence presented that the accused was actually guilty of the offence. This did not have a remedial effect. A remedial effect would haul in that driver when he reached six demerit points and tell the driver, here is a traffic school -- learn how to drive safely so you do not incur these points.
With regard to section 27 of the AARTO Act, he said that was not a reviewed process and it was unconstitutional. One could not have the same person being judge, jury and executioner. The administrative nature of the AARTO Act sought to replace the courts except where the accused person elected to be tried in court.
Mr Dembovsky said the independence of the Agency was scary. In the 2015-15 year, the Agency had received R15.3 million from National Treasury for operations. The remainder of R128 million had come from penalties and fees which it had raised. In the same year, its postage courier costs had been R25 million and its employee salaries had amounted to R44 million. Could the Committee forgive people by saying that this looked like a money making venture? In reality, it was true that the RTIA relied on people who did not take action within the first 32 days. Under AARTO, if the person paid within 32 days and the penalty was R250, the issuing authority received R125. If the person did not pay within 32 days, the Agency issued a courtesy letter and the issuing authority still got R125 rand and the Agency got R185. If the person still didn’t pay and it went to an enforcement order, the issuing authority got R125 and the RTIA R245. This could not be viewed as being independent.
He added that under AARTO, the RTIA performed diametrically opposed functions. It acted as the debt collector for the issuing authority, it acted as an issuer of courtesy letters and enforcement orders and it acted as anything but an independent tribunal between the accused persons, the issuing authorities and itself. How could the Agency and its employees be regarded as being independent when 78% of its revenues came from fees and portions of penalties to which it was entitled? This was in direct conflict of interest.
With regard to the proposed insertion of sub-section 3 into 32 of the Acts, what did this do to halt the non-compliance of issuing authorities? it meant that when the issuing authority started to act normally again, it was entitled to the money which the Agency collected. Until that time, the Agency was allowed to pocket the unlawful monies. The AARTO Act needed a proper schedule of offences to deal with the kinds of action which have been seen coming from people like the Johannesburg Metro Police who, despite every single engagement with the JPSA, had decided to continue sending out AARTO infringement notices by ordinary mail for 30 months. That had only halted after the JPSA brought a complaint to the Public Protector and in 2012, when the Minister was starting to get asked uncomfortable questions in Parliament.
In the current AARTO experiment, 81.1% of the violations came from camera speed detector. The question which needed to be asked was whether speed was the biggest problem. The fact was that the unscrupulous and insane focus on speed and cameras was driven by little more than money and the private companies which had entered the area and influenced the legislature. The problem was that there was no tackling of proper moving violations, like people talking on their cell phones and driving, people going through red traffic lights, or people driving on the wrong side of road.
He said that there was inconsistency. There were excuses which said that courtesy letters and enforcement orders were not sent out because there was no money to pay the post office. If one had a look at the use of enforcement orders, they had gone through the roof. The inconsistency came in the outcomes of representations that were put to the RTIA as well. On a materially identical argument, one had come back successful and the other unsuccessful, and that could not be regarded as consistency.
He said that the issuing of enforcement orders played a significant role in increasing the monies that were coming on to the RTIA. Enforcement orders forced people to pay, and they really did not have a choice. The process of this was unconstitutional.
He said that not everything about the AARTO experiment had been negative. The centralizing of the issue of administration of road traffic infringements and prescribed timelines were a very positive step in the right direction. What needed to be fixed were the unconstitutional issues. Because the South African Police Service (SAPS), which was scheduled as an issuing authority, were not issuing AARTO infringement notices, it was in direct conflict with the AARTO Act.
Mr Dembovsky said that there were many unconstitutional and problematic provisions in the AARTO Act. There was the presumption of guilt thought the Act, the time limitations, the inability of the owner to nominate the driver in the case of an offence, the Registrar, who was granted to much power and reviewed his own decisions, were all problems. The RTIA could never be an independent tribunal unless it was completely separated from the profit-making side. There was a legalised avoidance of the points demerit system, where a juristic entity could pay the fine at three times the value and in that way avoid nominating the driver, which was not right. The limited geographical roll out created an inequality before the law from the outset. If there was a system which did not impose a criminal record in Tshwane and Johannesburg, then it needed to be like that everywhere.
He added that the AARTO Act was in conflict with other legislation, including the National Road Traffic Act. Corruption and maladministration must be eradicated, traffic law enforcement must come under a national competency, traffic law enforcers must focus on dealing with violations, prosecutions must become effective and an effective points demerit system needed to be implemented urgently.
Mr Radebe said that the presenter had kept on speaking about the unconstitutionality of AARTO but had not said which part and section of the constitution AARTO violated. Could he quote from the constitution?
Mr Hunsinger said that on page seven of the written submission, Mr Dembovsky had referred to an apparent private arrangement that had been entered into by the RTIA with a few companies to gain some sort of limited access into the eNaTIS and NCR register. Could there be more detail around that?
Mr Sibande (said that it was difficult to discern the presenter’s intentions. There were serious contradictions in the document and some of the statements Mr Dembovsky had made. Could he be more specific about his references to maladministration and corruption? Was it because the government was led by black people, that that was where corruption had started? Where was this corruption? What was needed was an amicable solution and answers on how to address the carnage on the roads. Mr Dembovsky had just criticised everything, while he had provided no alternative. What were his proposals, besides being just negative all the time? It was very interesting that there were a lot of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the past, but now some people used NGOs to lambaste the constitution of the country. Where was AARTO violating the constitution? While he was speaking the Members had been quiet, but as they had spoken, he had had interjections. This was a sign of the attitude which Mr Dembovsky had come to the Committee with. The presentation did not build, but had instead destroyed.
Mr Mulaudzi said referred to what had been described as the autocratic adjudication of the Road Offences Act. This had not been good language to use in the presentation. The presenter was confident about the unconstitutionality of AARTO in terms of section 35 (3H). Section 35 was provided for the detained accused, and spoke of the right of the accused to a fair trail, which included to be presumed innocent and remain silent. The section which Mr Dembovsky quoted misled the Committee, because it was not what section 35 what saying. Why was it infringing the constitution in South Africa? Courts were overburdened. The entity was not making money in order to pay itself, but was making money as a way of punishing traffic offenders who were killing people in the roads. Where was AARTO to get its funding if it did not do this? The presentation did not assist the country.
Mr M Maswangayi (ANC) asked if the repeated claims of maladministration and corruption were founded. If they were founded, could the presenter provide cases so that the Committee could take the RTIA to task. With regard to issues of constitutionality, he said that JPSA was going to the constitutional court with regard to AARTO. This was written in the submission, which said that if the JPSA submissions did not happen, then it was a virtual certainty that AARTO would face constitutional challenges and this legislation would certainly be referred back to the legislator for correction. JPSA had gone on to urge the Committee to intervene now and in so doing, avert the possibility of a further waste of taxpayers’ money by the RTIA and the Department attempting to defend the indefensible in court. It would have been proper to not put an axe on the Committee’s neck when the JPSA was making its presentations.
Ms Xego said that the language used in the presentation, like ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘autocratic administration’ made the Committee think otherwise with regards to the claims JPSA was making. She asked for clarity with regard to the presenter’s claims that the entity was profit making, and clarity on the admission of guilt and criminal record. What made him think like that? Most South African drivers did not have access to the internet, but they did own cell phones. Out of 100 people that had licences, at least 99 had cell phones. What was the relation between the ability and inability to pay versus the Credit Act?
Mr Ramatlakane said the only section the JPSA had agreed with was section 21. He asked about the statement that electronic service of a document constituted an illegal act. He failed to understand the dramatisation of the presentation on every proposed amendment of the act. Why was it unconstitutional? What, in Mr Dembovsky view, could become unconstitutional if AARTO went forward? What were the provisions which needed to be amended further? The approach of the JPSA was to throw the whole process out of the window. JPSA experience and expertise would have been valuable in the engagement, but that opportunity had been lost. Its presentation sounded like a threat, and asked what the value of engaging with the JPSA had been.
Mr Dembovsky denied that his presentation came across as racist behaviour. He did not know why it was being interpreted that way. He took extreme offence to the claim that he was being racist. The South African Post Office had introduced an unregistered mail service which had been released in May of 2016. The service of legal documents in the high court was governed by the rules of the superior court practice, and rule 4A allowed for documents to be e-mailed. It was JPSA's contention that this was not an automatic decision that was included in legislation, that one could receive e-mail legal documents. Nobody could deny that moving forward and modernizing was a sound idea. TASIMA said that companies were already being given the option to nominate drivers upfront before an infringement notice was issued. One could not look at the few and apply it to the many.
He disagreed with the comment on the presumption of guilt. The roadside was never a court. A traffic officer’s opinion of whether one had offended was the traffic officer’s opinion until proven. This shifting of onus was not constitutional. The section 35 heading read ‘arrested, detained and accused persons.’ The emphasis was on ‘and.’ One could not be accused of a crime or infringement and automatically be presumed guilty. The solution to that was that if a person did not react, that person needed to be summoned and brought to court.
With regard to the maladministration allegations, he said that the Public Protector’s report had found maladministration had taken place. Corruption on the roadside was common. The roadside was an isolated situation, with only two people involved, and that was why the JPSA had spoken about corruption.
He added that a warrant of execution was not a ‘line up and shoot them,’ as had been suggested. He had not said that. A warrant of execution was a warrant in section 21. He spoke of the Members’ examples of Japan, and said that he was pretty sure that it had not been suggested that Japan and South Africa could be compared. Electronic communication in techno-savvy countries could be done like this, but South Africa was not at that stage. He challenged the claim that 99% of road drivers actually had cell phones. Even under the National Credit Act, documents needed to be served properly, but here a text message was suggested.
He added that this was a level of engagement which need not be taken as a threat. When it was said that AARTO would raise constitutional challenges, he had said that it would face constitutional challenges, and not that the JPSA would take it to court.
The Chairperson said that the main issue with Mr Dembovsky was how he had projected himself and come across, to which the Committee took serious offence. If it was documented that the JPSA would take the matter to court, it was like saying to the Committee, ‘do this or else.’ The language of the document and the posture which had become adversarial had made Members take offence. The PC took a positive attitude and would consider all of the JPSA's claims. The central issue was to make sure people felt safe on the roads.
South African Local Government Association: Presentation
Mr Sibulele Dyodo, Specialist/Director: Roads and Transport Planning, SA Local Government Association (SALGA), said that one of the concerns municipalities had raised after the pilot was the issue around systems. One of the challenges was the issue of registered mail and the associated costs. SALGA had written a letter to the then Minister of Transport, which said that a review of the whole AARTO was needed. One of the key elements of that letter was an argument for the assurance of implementation, institutional arrangements, systems and processes which needed to be properly aligned.
With regard to the bill, municipalities had raised concerns over the definition of a service. Municipalities were not happy with the provision which indicated that RTIA was authorised to hold money back if the authority did not seem too work within what was prescribed in the Act. Furthermore, municipalities raised issues about the register and the owner of a vehicle’s liabilities. There were comments about section 21, with some municipalities feeling that the removal of section 21 was not supported.
The proposed amendment raised two critical issues which needed to be discussed. Firstly, the blocking of the infringer from receiving a driving licence, professional driving permit or licence disc. This had to be read together with the proposed demerit system. A big challenge was the issue of the demerit point system, and the repeal of section 25, which spoke to issues of licenses. The challenges experienced in the pilot project of AARTO in Gauteng had been associated with the challenges of e-tolls and their socio-economic-political aspects, and the unintended consequences which had had a serious effect on the poor people who stayed in Soweto.
The unintended consequences of the demerit system pertained to employment, in the event that someone could lose a licence, which was an essential job requirement in some cases. This person would not be able to put bread on the table. SALGA understood the fact that people should not violate the law, and supported the merits of AARTO and the fight against increased road fatalities. As such, what SALGA was proposing was that rather than adopt a punitive approach, provision for rehabilitation initiatives could be made.
The second challenge which SALGA had was related to services. SALGA was one of the entities which advocated the electronic element of serving notices. The big issue at hand with this pertained to the footprint of the country, which had vast rural areas. A national rollout would include remote places where internet provision was not up to scratch. The element of registered mail within the legislation needed to be looked at. It could not be the case that the only way one received mail that one could account for in court, would only be through registered mail. It was making municipalities bankrupt, and municipalities were saying that it was expensive to administer. SALGA was suggesting to RTIA and SAPO that a middle road between registered mail and the normal way should be developed -- something which was acceptable in court but was also cost efficient.
With regard to general comments, he said that the proposed section 32, allowing the Authority to withhold monies from non-compliant issuing authorities, should be extended to issuing authorities to also withhold monies in the event that an Authority did not comply with the Act, because the Authority could be subjective in the use of this power. There were billing challenges, as the e-NATIS system was based on cash-based accounting, and the municipalities were based on the accrual system. Other challenges were associated with e-NATIS’s data integrity and the validation and reconciliation of the infringement notices.
He said that SALGA were meeting with the RTIA. RTIA had just completed a readiness report on the readiness of municipalities to roll out the programme.
Mr Hunsinger said that SALGA suggested a form of rehabilitation program be developed and asked SALGA to expand on this. With regard to SALGA's submission on section 30, which dealt with high costs for municipalities, he asked if SALGA had engaged in any form of actual accounting comparisons so that the Committee could have something as a proof of reference for the impact on municipalities with AARTO implementation. What did the presenter mean by political consequences under "socio economic political " consequences? Was it suggested that one could lose a particular constituency if one had too many traffic fines in a particular area? With regard to a rehabilitation programme, was SALGA suggesting that bad drivers who lost their privileges of having a driver’s licence should be rehabilitated with the use of government money? If the Committee accepted the AARTO Act as it was, and accepted that it would have financial implications for municipalities and local government, would SALGA say that because of this, one would naturally find a focus on traffic offences of higher value as a mitigation method for municipalities to maintain their income base?
Mr Sibande said that from the Committee’s limited experience in 2010 about the building of stadiums and after the World Cup ended, which had led to benefits in a lot of areas, did SALGA not think that by allowing the use of electronics would pressurise other sections to make sure that even rural areas benefited? Technology was already in some rural areas, and more was needed. He asked for clarity concerning the usage of electronics and the possibility of linking systems which spoke to each other in different departments. He applauded SALGA for their submission and alternatives.
Mr Mulaudzi asked what the state of readiness with regards to municipalities in the rural areas was with regard to infrastructure, systems and sharing of officials to assist the RTIA. He asked SALGA what it was doing to assist with implementation in the Western Cape.
Mr Ramatlakane asked for clarity with regard to the four points raised by SALGA, and said proper engagement with the Committee could be arranged with relevant bodies such as the Post Office in future.
Mr Dyodo said clarification was needed with regard to the submission on the provision of electronics. SALGA's understanding of electronic provision had been inserted over and above what was already prescribed. What was interesting in the Act was that registered mail still stood. SALGA wanted to include, over and above registered mail, electronic provision. SALGA accepted electronic provision and the movement to a digitised world, but he also spoke to parts of the bill which were not amended. In line with the electronic provision, SALGA was saying that the issue of registered mail was a problem. Registered mail was a challenge to municipalities with regard to cost. Rather than having registered mail, cheaper alternatives could be looked at which were not so costly. While SALGA did not have an example of what this could look like, RTIA were urged to look for some methods.
With regard to the cost of registered mail to municipalities, he said SALGA had studies on that and would come back to Parliament to present them. With regard to the roll out, when rolling out was in process it would start in municipalities where their source of revenue was little, and they could pay only for water and electricity before their funds were finished. SALGA was mindful to such implications.
Regarding issues of rehabilitation, he said SALGA were looking at programmes specifically for offenders. These could be compulsory community service, attending the mortuary of road user deaths, the issue of driver retesting, or maybe taking drivers to scene of an accident.
With regards to readiness, he noted that SALGA, the RTIA and municipalities were conducting a state of readiness so that municipalities could deliver on the mandate. The last time he checked the provincial reports readiness was at 60-70%. SALGA had raised with RTMC the need for help with regard to government funding in municipalities in respect of system establishment and training. He added that systems were linked at all municipalities.
With regards to socio-economic and political consequences, he said that was a phrase which was used during SWAT analysis of strengths and weaknesses. To take social and economic issues alone was not taking the right approach to solving a problem, so SALGA was looking at all related implications. SALGA was, however, not predicting anything with regard to constituencies, but it had learnt its lesson with e-tolls, even though it was and still is a good initiative by government to fund roads.
The Chairperson thanked SALGA, and the meeting was adjourned.
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