South African drivers could be “taxed” R100 for each traffic fine

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The Automobile Association (AA) has released a statement regarding the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act’s introduction of an Infringement Penalty Levy, arguing that this amounts to charging drivers a tax for receiving a traffic fine.

The act was signed into law in August 2019, introducing the country to a new driving demerit system among other traffic changes. Draft regulations surrounding the act are still to be finalised, however.

“With regards to the Infringement Penalty Levy, the regulations directly imply the imposition of a tax,” the AA said. “In this case, it refers to a fee payable for every infringement notice issued to motorists.”

“On our interpretation of the draft regulation, this means an additional R100 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 organisation said that this would be similar to SARS charging every taxpayer a fee for submitting their tax returns. In the case of minor traffic infringements, the “tax” might be nearly double the actual fine payable.

Under the draft regulations, South African motorists would also be required to pay up to R240 simply to check their demerit points.

“One would expect that an easy online system (unlike the current system used for licence renewals) be made available to all motorists for demerit point checks to be made,” the AA said.

“Sadly, no provision is made for online enquiries within AARTO’s draft regulations, meaning the system is complicated and cumbersome.”

“A clear thread throughout the draft regulations is that of revenue collection – monies payable, fees, and penalties – with little or no regard for the actual values of infringements linked to demerit points,” the AA added.

The AA said it would deliver a formal submission on behalf of its members relating to the amendments to the relevant authorities ahead of the November 10 deadline.

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