JOHANNESBURG – Justice Project South Africa has
noted the launch of the new “eRegistered
mail” service on offer by the South African Post Office and cautiously welcomes this technological
advancement, more especially insofar as it applies to the prescripts AARTO Act
which definitively requires service by registered mail.
Whilst our stance may come as a huge surprise
to some, we are of the view that this service will greatly benefit those
individuals and organisations who wish to and have repeatedly tried to comply
with the provisions of the AARTO Act. In particular, businesses of all sizes
will finally be able to exercise their option to nominate the driver within the
prescribed 32 days from service of
an AARTO infringement notice.
There is also a huge advantage to motorists
who, instead of repeatedly being caught “speeding” on a particular road where
speed limits have often been arbitrarily reduced without any notice would receive
notification within a significantly shorter period – instead of building up
scores of speeding fines before becoming aware that they were even transgressing.
eRegistered mail may therefore be of benefit to both, law enforcement agencies and some errant motorists, fleet operators,
etc. who have access to the internet and email and choose to opt-in on this
service. It will not however replace “normal” registered mail for those who
Since the inception of the AARTO Act in the
Cities of Johannesburg and Tshwane, issuing authorities have used a service from
the SAPO called “secure mail” to post infringement notices to alleged
infringers. This service is not
registered mail as is prescribed by the AARTO Act and does not operate in the
same manner as regular registered mail, or the new eRegistered mail service.
In March 2016, JPSA lodged a notice of motion
in the Pretoria High Court to address the unlawful service of AARTO
infringement notices, courtesy letters and enforcement orders. We have now
received notices of intention to oppose our application from five of the seven
respondents in that matter and look forward to hearing the creative explanations they wish to fabricate to justify their
The introduction of eRegistered mail in no way
alters the fact that the requirements for service by registered mail contained
in the AARTO Act have been violated by all concerned.
It is also interesting to note that the
national rollout of the AARTO Act, which has endured multiple and repeated “false starts” over the nearly eight
years it has been in operation in Johannesburg and Tshwane and was promised to be rolled out nationally “from
1 April 2016”; has still not happened.
In her budget
speech before Parliament on 10 May 2016, the Minister of Transport appealed to the Portfolio Committee to
expedite the processing of AARTO Amendment Bill, 2015 before Parliament.
It is not clear to us what makes the promulgation of
the AARTO Amendment Bill, 2015 essential
to the national rollout of AARTO while the current version of the Act is regarded
to be good enough to impose on motorists who transgress in the Cities of
Johannesburg and Tshwane.
This is more especially so in light of the
launch of the eRegistered mail service by the SAPO since no amendments to the
AARTO Act are required in order for the issuing authorities and the RTIA to
make use of this service and it is therefore our view that the Department of
Transport and its RTIA are merely seeking to further delay the national rollout
for reasons best known to them and by using unjustifiable excuses to further delay, amongst other things, the implementation
of the points-demerit system.
The national rollout of the AARTO Act would remove
the current confusion and arguably, unconstitutional dual sets of procedures,
requirements and consequences that exist with the simultaneous existence of the
AARTO Act in just two jurisdictions, while the draconian, yet somewhat vague
provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act apply everywhere else insofar as it
applies to road traffic infringements.
of “increasing the revenue of the issuing authorities and the Agency due to the
provision of electronic methods of service” should not be a
consideration since traffic law enforcement should be about effectively
tackling the lawlessness and associated, unacceptably high level of injuries
and deaths which exists on South Africa’s roads.
Unfortunately, it is apparent that neither, the
Department of Transport and its Agency, the RTIA, nor traffic law enforcement
agencies have as yet realised this and so, continue to attempt to find ways to
maximise their profits, instead of putting the lives and well-being of South Africans first. This is a crying shame, to say the least.