Experts have warned that the latest draft of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act contains a ‘stealth tax’ which will see South African motorists pay an additional R100 fee for every fine that they receive.
The Automobile Association’s (AA’s) Layton Beard told Rapport that even if a motorist successfully disputes the fine, they will not get this R100 levy back.
This means that even motorists who have been fined wrongfully will have to pay the new R100 infringement penalty levy.
“With regards to the Infringement Penalty Levy, the regulations directly imply the imposition of a tax. In this case, it refers to a fee payable for every infringement notice issued to motorists,” the AA said.
It said that the levy is added to each fine issued, regardless of the value of the fine or its associated demerit points.
“In other words, if a motorist receives a R200 or R2,000 fine, an additional R100 must be added for the Infringement Penalty Levy, which amounts to a tax for actually receiving the fine,” it said.
The AA highlighted that on 20 million infringement notices which are issued annually, this would amount to a R2 billion windfall for the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA).
The Democratic Alliance has also warned that the introduction of the Aarto could see motorists forcibly paying for e-tolls.
The party had previously raised concerns that in an earlier draft of the laws, operator class motor vehicles which do not pay e-tolls would be fined R500 and stand to lose one demerit point for every fine that is not paid.
In the recently gazetted regulations this has now been changed – however, the DA noted that while the motorist will not receive demerit points, a fine will still be incurred, “which is now double for failing to pay e-tolls,” it said.
While the act introduces a number of changes, the DA said that it can also be seen as just another way to force motorists to pay for e-tolls.
“The DA has always been against the implementation of e-tolls as this is an unfair burden on the residents of Gauteng who are already struggling to make ends meet.
“What is clear is that residents are not prepared to pay for e-tolls. We cannot have a situation where motorists are fined for something which they were not consulted on in the first place,” the party said.
The DA said that the government has previously committed to a decision about the future of e-tolls will be made ‘soon’. However, over a year later, no decision has yet been made.
“The e-toll system must be scrapped before it turns motorists into criminals,” the DA said.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula gazetted the latest draft of the administrative adjudication of road traffic offences (Aarto) regulations last week.
The 540-page directive states that the new Aarto Act is due for a national roll-out on 1 July 2021.