Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Amendment Bill: finalisation

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01 August 2017
Chairperson: Ms D Magadzi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee convened to go through the clauses of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Amendment Bill [B38B-2015] with input from the legal advisors from the State Law Advisor, Parliament and the Department of Transport.  The Bill was considered and deliberated on clause by clause.
All clauses, with or without amendments, were agreed upon with the exception of following clauses: Clauses 8, 10, 13, 15 as well as the section of financial implication.  The DA stated that there would financial implications and not matter how small it might be, such implication should be acknowledged.

With regard to Clause 15, the EFF was concerned with the fact that the Bill lacked to clarify the timeframe of filling vacancies by the President and  raised concern about appointing the Chairperson of the Tribunal prior to or on the date of the signing the Bill into law. On the former, it was agreed that the President could fill vacancies within 90 days and that the Minister of Transport should be given power to fill vacancies on a temporary basis.  On the former, it was agreed that the president should announce when the Bill would come operation after signing it. This would allow the President to appoint Chairperson and other members.

Meeting report

The Chairperson noted that the Bill would be considered clause by clause:

Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Amendment Bill: consideration
The Chairperson read out the Long Title and Preamble. These were adopted without further amendment.

Clause 1
Accepted by the Committee.

Clause 2
Accepted by the Committee.

Clause 3
Accepted by the Committee.

Clause 4
Accepted by the Committee.

Clause 5
Accepted by the Committee.

Mr T Mbanza (ANC) asked if it was legally sound to state capital “A” after small “d” so as to read “(dA).”

It was legally accepted according to the legal advisors.

Clause 6
Accepted by the Committee.

Clause 7
Accepted by the Committee.

Clause 8
Mr C Hunsinger (DA) asked about serving an individual with an infringement notice and the chance of success of a representation. He remarked that the clause failed to consider situations where a representation might be unsuccessful.

Mr Japh Chuwe, CEO: RTIA, responded that the amendment was intended to cure anomalies relating to instances where a grave infringement had taken place. A representation would be concerned with whether the complainant had been served with a notice and, if such notice had been served, the representation would be successful.

Mr Hunsinger felt that more steps should be included and more clarified in the clause to align it with the administrative process.

The Chairperson agreed. She said Mr Hunsinger should draft a proposal and hand it to the legal team for consideration and incorporation.

Clause 9
Accepted by the Committee.

Clause 10
Mr Hunsinger, referring to clause 10(b), expressed his concerns about the message intended to be relayed by it. He asked how the infringer would become aware of demerits points.

Mr Chuwe replied that a notice would be sent to infringers informing them about demerits points or indication of points. A notice may notify an infringer that he or she is disqualified.

Mr Hunsinger said that there were two stages: First was to be aware and second was to be notified officially. The second stage was when authorities served a notice on an infringer which could be served as sufficient proof in cases of legal dispute. In this way, an infringer could not be left with a means to support his or her case.

Mr Chuwe responded that the issues raised by Mr Hunsinger were covered under section 30.

Clause 11
Accepted by the Committee.

Clause 12
Accepted by the Committee.

Clause 13 with amendments
Mr Chuwe indicated that there was an error in Clause 13(a). The word “for” should be replaced by the word “within” to read “within 30 days” and not “for 30 days.”

Mr Hunsinger said that the same correction should be made in Clause 10(3)(a).

Clause 14
Accepted by the Committee.

Clause 15 inserting Establishment and constitution of Tribunal.
Agreed by the Committee as amended.

New Clause inserting Section 29A
Referring to Clause 29A(4)(a), Mr GS Radebe (ANC) asked what the phrase “no later than the date on which this Act comes into operation” meant and felt that the time framework in which the President must appoint the Tribunal chairperson and other members should be specified.
Mr Chuwe responded that the purpose of law was to avoid a situation in which the Tribunal might not function if the Bill became operational. When the President assents to the Bill, he should ensure that the Tribunal chairperson is appointed.
Mr T Mulaudzi (EFF) asked if President could appoint the Tribunal chairperson before the Bill was signed by the President. Under which law would the President appoint if the Bill was not yet signed into law?
Mr Chuwe responded that the President would first sign the Bill into law and simultaneously appoint the chairperson. However to avoid a vacuum, the President has a prerogative power to state the date on which the Bill would start operating, after signing it into law.
Referring to Clause 29A(6)(a), Mr Mulaudzi felt that “office-bearer” should be removed because it would restrict many people who could be appointed as members of the Tribunal. It could not be justified that office bearers of a political party could have an influence over the Tribunal. What about politicians who were not officer bearers?
Mr Chuwe responded that the provisions intended to prohibit political office bearers.
Mr Mulaudzi stated that the top political office bearers were six in number. Therefore, others should be allowed to become members of the Tribunal.
Mr Chuwe responded that some political parties might have a top six of political officer bearers whereas others might have a huge number of office bearers.
Mr Radebe remarked that the question of office bearers was critical given the fact that a political party had representatives at national, provincial and local level. Which one could be excluded? Mr Chuwe’s response did not give clarity. Was he implying that those office bearers at provincial or local level would also be excluded or be accepted?

Mr Mulaudzi said that the provision should be amended to state that people should be impartial and should not act in their personal interest.

Mr Chuwe responded that the question of acting in a fair and impartial manner was covered by section 29A(9). The question of office bearers would be revisited for amendment.

Mr Mulaudzi suggested that "office bearer should be removed.

Members agreed.

The State Law Advisor suggested that the phrase “a direct or indirect financial interest” should be removed from section 29A(6)(b)(i).

Members agreed.

Mr T Mpanza (ANC) said that section 29A(6)(c) was cumbersome as he could not understand what the terms “unrehabilitated insolvent” and “becoming insolvent” meant in the provision.

The Chairperson responded that the paragraph was clear and that there was no problem with the sentence.

Members agreed.

Mr M Sibande (ANC) said he was concerned in section 29A(6)(d) about the disqualification from appointment on the basis of removal from an office of trust. This tool was used during the apartheid era to restrict appointment of black people in certain positions.

Mr Chuwe responded that removal would not be used in the context of politics but in terms of rule of law. The latter was indicated by the fact that an individual ought to be found guilty.

The State Law Advisor noted that section 29A(7) should be deleted because it was referring to section 29A(6)(b) that had been removed.

Mr Mulaudzi commented that section 29A(7) was trying to close all avenues of corruption. If sub-clause 7 was removed, it would open a space for corruption.

Mr Chuwe suggested that should sub-clause 7 be removed, sub-clause 8 should be amended to cover the issues protected by subclause 7.

Mr Mbanza said that sub-clause 7 should not be removed as whole; rather the cross reference should be removed.

Mr Chuwe seconded this suggestion.

Members agreed.

Mr Hunsinger proposed that the word “Minister” should be removed in section 29A(8) and that section 29A(11) should be rephrased.

Members agreed.

Section 29B accepted by the Committee.
Section 29C accepted by the Committee.
Section 29D accepted by the Committee.

Mr Mulaudzi remarked that section 29E(3)(a) failed to provide a framework in which the President should fill vacancies. He suggested 30 days.

Mr Radebe commented that 30 days was a short time considering the duties of the President.

The State Law Advisor suggested 90 days.

Mr Chuwe agreed. He noted that the Minister should be given power to fill the vacancy temporarily until the President appoints. The law should avoid a situation where the Tribunal may fail to function due to an unfilled vacancy.

The State Law Advisor noted that only the President can appoint. 

Section 29F accepted by the Committee.
Section 29G accepted by the Committee.
Section 29I accepted by the Committee
Section 29J accepted by the Committee.

Clause 16
Accepted by the Committee.

Clause 17
Accepted by the Committee.

Clause 18
Accepted by the Committee.

Clause 19
Accepted by the Committee.

Clause 20 without amendments
Mr Mulaudzi, referring to the Criminal Procedure Act, asked about the demerit system.

Mr Chuwe replied that Clause 20 was aimed at correcting anomalies in the Principal Act. Dealing with infringements in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act was to prove innocence or guilt.
Clause 21
Accepted by the Committee.

Clause 22
Accepted by the Committee.

Mr de Freitas asked the Chairperson whether the Committee would consider the Memorandum.

The Chairperson replied that they would look at it and noted that legal team would address all issues raised by Members and furnish the Committee with a final document.

Memorandum on the Objects
The 22 points of the Memorandum were considered and accepted by the Committee.

Referring to point 14, Mr Mulaudzi felt that categorisation of offences, infringements and demerit points could be prescribed by shareholders, in concurrence with the Minister of Justice.

Mr Hunsinger said that the prerogative power to prescribe offences and infringements rested with the Minister of Transport. There should be decentralisation. Categorisations should be done by provinces or shareholders.

Mr Chuwe said the issue raised by Mr Mulaudzi was taken care of under the Schedules and was part of law that was in place.

Mr Mulaudzi raised concern about each province making its own rules and regulations as these should be uniform.

Financial Implications with amendments
Mr Hunsinger asked about the difference between "authorities" and the "agency" and remarked that the Bill should take into cognisance that there would be financial implications, whether positive or negative. He noted that there would be implications on provincial and local governments.
Mr Chuwe responded that the Bill would affect the budget positively, for example, in those instances where infringers/wrongdoers would be paying fines. Customarily, infringers were not paying fines and thus revenue was being lost.

Mr Hunsinger reiterated that the Bill ought to acknowledge that there would be financial implications, no matter how minimal such impact might be.

Mr Mulaudzi remarked that there were different groups of traffic officers. Due to these different groups, it was difficult for visitors and tourists to identify traffic officers. He asked why there was no single traffic police force with the same uniform.

The Chairperson noted that the Committee Report on Bill could not be adopted given that inputs and comments of Members needed to be included in the Bill. The Committee Report could only be considered if the Bill had been finalised.

The meeting was adjourned.



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