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Aarto demerit points system only to be implemented in July 2022

Transport minister unpacks the various phases of the rollout.
Fikile Mbalula says campaigns are needed to make sure motorists understand that they can lose their licences due to non-compliant behaviour. Image: GCIS

The points demerit system and driver rehabilitation programmes of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act will only be introduced from July 1, 2022 – a year later than anticipated.

This was confirmed on Thursday by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, who said Aarto will be implemented in phases from July 1 this year.

Mbalula said by the time the milestone of the introduction of the points demerit system and driver rehabilitation programmes has been reached, there will be no excuse among road users that they do not understand the implications and consequences of the Aarto process.

Points system

He said Schedule 3 of the Aarto Regulations will provide a comprehensive list of demerit points allocated for every identified offence, with the threshold level of demerit points at 15 points.

“Upon exceeding the threshold mark, one’s driving licence gets suspended for a period of three months for every point that the threshold has been exceeded. The reduction is one point for every three months that a motorist remains violation-free.

“Considering the significant impact that the points demerit system will have on the public, it is critical that intensive public awareness and education campaigns are intensified to ensure that every road user in the country understands the implications of the suspension and cancellation of licences due to non-compliant behaviour with road traffic laws.

“Aarto is being introduced to save lives and if you are compliant with all road traffic laws you have nothing to worry about,” he said.

Reaction

The Automobile Association (AA) said it is pleased the government has heeded calls to clarify issues relating to the implementation of Aarto but stressed that no meaningful roll-out of the system can occur until the system’s regulations are promulgated.

“Naturally the planned implementation of Aarto will not happen today [Thursday] as previously communicated,” it said.

“The Minister noted several reasons for this including the suspension of senior managers at the RTIA [Road Traffic Infringement Agency] for maladministration – including that of its Registrar and CEO Japh Chuwe – and the impact of Covid-19.

“Today’s communication, though, should have been made weeks ago as many people believed it was coming into force today,” said the AA.

“Despite this, we at least have a better roadmap going forward, but much of that relies on the finalisation of the regulations.”

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said the transport authorities confirmed what Outa has known for months: that the transport authorities are not ready to implement Aarto.

“After various promises … [that] the Aarto demerit system would start today, it has now been pushed back to July 2022, as the authorities must still set up the infrastructure to run it,” it said.

Outa said it now seems likely that its legal challenge to the constitutionality of Aarto will be heard before the amended Aarto Act comes into effect, with Outa’s challenge set down for hearing in October.

Phased rollout

Mbalula summarised the phased approach to the Aarto national rollout plan as follows.

  • PHASE 1 – July 1 to September 30

  • Establishing seven service outlets;

  • Enabling the National Administration Traffic Information System (NaTIS) to collect Aarto payments at collecting agents;

  • Allowing elective options to be processed in infringement agencies and service outlets; and

  • Communication and education awareness campaigns.

  • PHASE 2 – October 1 to December 31

  • Coming online of 67 local and metropolitan municipal areas proclaimed for Aarto roll-out;

  • Establishment of more than 18 service outlets;

  • Adjudication process coming online in all provinces; and

  • The Appeals Tribunal coming into full operation.

  • PHASE 3 – January 1 to June 30, 2022

  • Inclusion of the 144 remaining local municipal areas proclaimed for Aarto roll-out.

  • PHASE 4 – July 1, 2022 onwards

  • Points Demerit System (PDS) coming online;

  • Rehabilitation Programme coming into effect; and

  • Establishment of 20 Aarto self-service kiosks.

Mbalula said Aarto is an objective and fair system of identifying reckless drivers, and that law breakers can be removed from the driving fold.

Servicing of documents

He said common penalties are similarly being introduced for all traffic violations throughout the country and will carry the same penal values while electronic service will begin in earnest, which means that law enforcement can be effectively supported by technology, with the servicing documents done by electronic means such as e-mail.

However, Mbalula also referred to the SA Post Office as being responsible for the serving of all notices as per the requirement of the Aarto Act.

Read: Aarto to hit e-toll defaulters

“Moving forward, the Aarto rollout ensures that infringers do not have to burden the courts with some of these infringements,” he said.

Rehabilitation programme

Mbalula said habitual infringers who have had their licences cancelled will be able to attend rehabilitation programmes before being allowed back in the driving fold.

“This shows that the Aarto is not just about punishment but has intentions to ensure compliance and change of road user behaviour,” he said.

City of Cape Town not on board

Outa CEO Wayne Duvenage said the bigger problem looming for Aarto is that the City of Cape Town has made it clear that it is not participating and will challenge it – and more cities and towns are likely to come on board in this.

Read: City of Cape Town to fight Aarto

Alderman JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security at the City of Cape Town, told Moneyweb last month the city is “considering its options to challenge the implementation of Aarto legislation because it appears to conflict with the local government mandate in regard to traffic and parking”.

Duvenage said the law is very clear on the right of municipalities to the revenues of traffic fines, and to manage their own systems.

“What are they going to do when the City of Cape Town says we are not entering our fines into your system like you want us to because we don’t have to participate in your scheme?

“If the courts rule that the City of Cape Town cannot be forced to be part of the system, then Aarto is dead in the water.”

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Spoiler alert. It won’t be ready for July 2022, or 2025 for that matter.

Not one milestone will be hit

Still waiting for DTT with set-top boxes since 2010 (in time for the World Cup then)…

In a country where you cannot even renew your drivers license, what is the point of this.

my wife was at Bedfordview yesterday for the third time trying to renew. Forget about phoning or e mail. No response, none. They took het fingerprints again. How do you lose fingerprints in an electronic system? This crowd can’t organize beer for a braai. Aarto, NHI etc. Have you tried getting a license for a firearm ?

I tried to renew my driver’s licence in April 2018. Guess what, my licence was declined due to my fingerprints not matching those on record in the database at the Department Of Home Affairs (DOHA).

After googling the problem, I learned that I was one of more than 300 000 applicants, the fingerprints of which was swapped around in the database by the BEE company doing the card renewals, out of spitefulness, due to their contract not being renewed. This resulted that I am now sitting with someone else’s prints against my identity in the database of the DOHA.

After many frustrating hours of negotiation, I eventually received my new licence card more than a year later, this time marked “No Print” where my fingerprint was supposed to be.

This did not bother me much at the time, however I have found subsequently that I am now unable to open a new bank account, since they all refer back to the database of the DOHA for a match before they will open the account. I then made an affidavit at the local SAPS office. They looked at me as if I was going mad, and again took my prints to check after I had paid some fee. After about 3 months they informed me that my prints was “clean”, without matching any known criminal event. However, they did nothing to correct the wrong prints in the database of the DOHA.

I have now given up.

Money_Talks, wow man I am stunned to learn that a company can knowingly sabotage citizens under full government watch without ANY repercussions?? I’m just wondering if you could sue government in a civil court for this suffering?

Waste of money

They should rather use the money to appoint more police to monitor the corrupt Civil Servants and Ministers, then appoint a Private Security company to monitor the police

What a mess the ANC have created.

I didn’t even notice Fikile is back from his paid holiday party in Dubai in 2017

Whether he’s here, there or anywhere, it’s fair to say nothing really happens..Just talk, indicative of the ruling party

I don’t really care about the Aarto system. If you drive properly why worry about it?

Corruption? The traffic cop has sole discretion.

Easy. We all install dashcams with voice recorder. Good ones costs from R3000.

Form R200 solves every problem

This Mabulaglag fellow is a laugh a day !!!

Ok. I see what’s going on here; It’s not about saving lives and good driving habits as is proclaimed. The collection of traffic violations revenue is extremely lucrative, so much so, that fikile wants to hijack this revenue stream from the municipalities.

No wonder Cape Town doesn’t want to come on board.

Agreed this is all about looting and money making !!!

This sounds like an extension of the current “Two Society” approach in South Africa. On the one hand, you have the minority of law-abiding citizens whom you burden to death with legislation such as FICA, RICA, POPI, firearm and exchange control regulations. On the other hand, there is the rest who just do whatever they like to do including ignoring traffic regulations on a daily basis. For example, if I want to build a small 1,5 m retaining wall, I need to submit plans to the council and wait 3 months for approval. But if some guy wants to build his shack next to the N2 across from the airport, he just does it. If he is not removed within 48 hours, he can stay permanently. How does that work?

Two society, two rule books, add a third one for prominant cadres. Jacob will be pardoned before the weekend.

Mini Taxi industry have already said they not abiding by Aarto.

Soooo, if you buy a house on a bond, move in, and don’t pay, what then? Can the bank never evict you? Do they need to supply you with alternative accommodation?

It depends where you buy the house. In Sandton they can evict you but there are parts of certain townships where even the police refuse to enter.

It gives me no pleasure, but I really need to ask – Will the bribe system be affected? Will taxis remain exempt from everything imaginable? Will the new owners of the collected money be accountable or have any oversight or put it to any good use?

The harsher the sentence (i.e. suspension of license) the more the bribe.
If you sitting on 8 points and 2 more means suspension; what do you think will happen?

Amazing. In a country where government is unable to prevent 6000 liters of raw sewage to flow into the Vaal River every second, that very same government is implementing a system where (corrupt and incompetent) officials have the power to award demerit points to drivers. And even take away citizens’ licences.

all i can say is that if aarto starts operating and then applied as planned with out any bribery , we will soon have only a few taxi drivers left on the road

And what will they do in the meantime? Our roads are officially one of the most dangerous in the world. (And AARTO will only marginally improve this in any event)

Does anybody know whether our zero alcohol rule is in place yet?

I’m anti drinking and driving but think :
(1) it is virtually impossible for normal person to know how long after a wine/beer they are at 0.0%. If you had a beer and burger at lunch can you drive home after work at 4, 5, 6 pm or not at all?
(2) there is no science to show that 0.00% is safer than 0.05%

Putting up the roof when the foundation isn’t even dugged…haha!

only in 2022 — a year late — not to bad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

Caarto is just another red-tape obstacle course being thrown in the way of the SA motorist.No fixing of the driver’s licence renewal mess (should be extended to 10 years),lawlessness on the roads, the appalling state of the road network etc.And yet, this is all fixable if the entire problem was ‘sold’ to the private sector to solve.Even traffic police could be privatised, much like armed response companies doing duty on suburban roads.More serious road issues could still be dealt with by the police.

The big question is will the demerit system apply to the taxi industry? If ‘not’ it should not apply to anyone and should be scrapped.

As I keep saying and no one answers. What EVER has this guy accomplished????????????????. Just keep moving him from one failure to another. Sound advice for a failing country

In a failed state and a failed political party he is just the right person to introduce AARTO – has done nothing, can’t do anything and everything he does achieve successfully is failure

End of comments.

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