Gazette process designed to block public comment‚ says DA
The Democratic Alliance has accused the government of publishing gazetted amendments to the AARTO Act in such a way that the public would not have time to respond and make submissions.
The amendments to the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act were published during the festive season and the dealine for public comment was today (Wednesday‚ 6 January 2016).
The DA said yesterday that the period allowed for comment demonstrated that “the Department of Transport (DoT) has little regard for democratic processes and real public participation”.
The DA submitted its objections to the amendments on Wednesday‚ and will request Transport Minister Dipuo Peters to extend the period allowed for public comment.
If passed‚ the amendments will allow outstanding e-toll bills to be included in the traffic fine process and allow for notices to be served via postal mail‚ e-mail or cell phone text message.
“Increased revenue with little regard for actually improving road safety appears to be the DoT’s goal‚” the DA said.
“It is clear that these amendments are being pushed through as a direct consequence of the e-tolls failure; criminal punishment for the motorist is being threatened to cover up these failures.”
The DA submitted numerous objections to the amendments‚ including assumptions that all motorists are familiar with the internet‚ that no photographic evidence will be provided to alleged law-breakers‚ that the regulations will be problematic for fleet owners‚ and that there are insufficient arrangements to settle disputes.
“The proposed amendments are intended to assist the prosecution of e-toll “offenders” and to continue the proliferation of speed cameras on the country’s roads. This does very little to improve road safety; it only serves to increase revenue‚ possibly due to low revenue collection from e-tolls that have been an unmitigated disaster since their introduction.”