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Government sets up demerit system for drivers

Outa is concerned the act could be used to force motorists into paying e-tolls.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) plans to challenge the constitutionality of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Amendment Act and expressed concern that the new act could be used to force Gauteng motorists to pay e-tolls.

Rudie Heyneke, Outa portfolio manager on transport, said on Friday that President Cyril Ramaphosa had assented to and signed the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Amendment Bill, which made it law.

Read: No running away from e-tolls

Heyneke said implementation of this act was now dependent on the law being gazetted with a commencement date.

The act sets up a demerit system for drivers, who would lose points for traffic offences, which may result in the loss of their driving licence.

Read: Scrapping e-tolls a viable solution – AA

Heyneke said Outa’s concern that the new act could be used to force Gauteng motorists to pay e-tolls stems from the fact that it would make it an offence to ignore road signs, which could include those listing e-toll charges.

Ramaphosa has established a task team led by transport minister Fikile Mbalula that must report to him by the end of this month on the options with regard to e-tolls.

Read: Head of e-tolls company was an e-tolls boycotter

Speaking on the sidelines of the Southern African Transport Conference last month, Mbalula spoke of the importance of a “win-win” solution for government and society and asked “how do we meet each other halfway in this?”

Getting beyond the impasse

Outa on Friday released a 65-page position paper titled ‘Getting beyond the e-toll impasse’, which outlines the reasons for its failure and concludes that the only way forward is to scrap the scheme and decide on alternative funding mechanisms for Gauteng’s freeways.

The non-profit civil rights organisation said government has to date not appeared to take civil society’s input on e-tolls into account, adding that Outa had previously asked for a meeting on this issue with the Minister of Transport and the Presidency but had not received a response.

Wayne Duvenage, chief executive of Outa, said it was calling on the public and government’s e-toll team to read its report because it believed it would assist them in “making the decision to pull the plug and work with society on the way forward”.

Debt not the fault of motorists

Outa said the Gauteng freeway upgrade, which should have cost a maximum of R10 billion, started off overpriced at R17.9 billion and had now run up a debt of R47.6 billion.

It said the original overpricing of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) had a direct effect on the decision to toll, with Gauteng motorists now expected to pick up the tab.

The report lists funding alternatives, including the fuel levy and government grants.

Outa said the Gauteng e-toll scheme is limping along today at about 20% compliance, which is well short of the compliance levels required to service SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) bonds, and has very little chance of revival.

Duvenage said the e-toll scheme was doomed to fail long before it was turned on in December 2013 despite Sanral and Electronic Toll Collection (ETC), which administers the system, having tried every trick in the book to coerce motorists to comply.

Scheme not fit for purpose

“We now have five years of empirical evidence that the Gauteng e-toll scheme is far from being fit for purpose and the delay in government’s decision to pull the plug is costing South Africa unnecessary expense,” he said.

Outa said the most obvious factors resulting in the scheme’s failure were the poor research conducted by Sanral, combined with environmental factors such as South Africa’s poor vehicle administration systems, inadequate postal services, poor regulatory environment and public resistance.

It added that Sanral’s disastrous public engagement campaigns added fuel to the fire, combined with knowledge of the overpriced construction costs and excessive administration fees for ETC, the public’s frustration on rampant corruption and poor government leadership.

Sanral CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma said in October 2017 at the launch of the agency’s draft Horizon 2030 strategy that the biggest intervention with strategy was to “push back” on matters of funding policy, which included e-tolls.

Macozoma stressed that Sanral’s mandate was not policy and that it did not want to be dragged into debates on how roads should be funded.

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I can’t help but wonder! What drives these politicians into their their continual punting of these bills and policies through..?
So much of what the government ‘is’, is hopelessly broken and yet they insist on ‘creating’ new things to break… Investors are not fooled by the rhetoric and as the capital takes flight, all that is left for the corrupt to steal comes with a heavy price laden in debt, that you wish you could hide it from existence!

It’s EASIER to write laws, than to work by fixing something that is broken in society/govt.

This is an easy way for ANC to illustrate to their less educated voters they’re at least “doing” something.

Here I have to agree… So this morning I received the video clip doing the rounds of the taxi accident (in GP) that claimed 9x lives.

Whilst watching the severed limbs and broken bodies lying around a taxi shell ripped apart; I kept asking myself just one question – How will this “fantastic” new piece of inept government legislation prevent these types of accident from happening..?

Once again, e-tolls are presented as a problem to society at large whereas they are just a corruption facilitation brought courtesy of the ANC.

The fact that they have not been scrapped suggests that their corrupt income stream is too important to disrupt, never mind how big the bailout grows…now at 47bn and counting.

Perhaps when it gets bigger than Eskom we’ll go to the IMF and they’ll shut e-tolls down for us.

Meantime, lots of bribes from motorists for avoiding e-tolls.

Wow. Let’s hope OUTA’s counsel knows more about traffic law than its spokespeople.

1. It has always been unlawful to disregard a road sign, including a toll road sign.
2. Failure to pay toll is not an ‘offence’ under AARTO, it is an ‘infringement’. Offence has a different meaning.
3. Charge codes providing for failure to pay toll already exist under AARTO, so this amendment contains nothing new. They have been there and enforceable since the AARTO pilot project started in 2008.
4. The amendment does not contain the “rollup” provision which OUTA was previously concerned about, so the practical difficulties of using AARTO to enforce e-tolls remain.

From an e-tolls point of view, this amendment changes nothing. OUTA should be more concerned that, unlike any other points-demerit system in the world, it removes the right to trial of someone accused of a traffic violation.

Rob, as a motoring journo, you have extensive knowledge on this topic. Bit off topic question for you:

Is there something in the Act that provide the authorities to power to “confiscate” your vehicle (without compensation)?

(e.g. if you were caught under influence way over legal limit; or your vehicle hit and killed a pedestrian; or some sort of crime was committed involving your vehicle?)

If it’s possible, then this is another area that expropriation can take place under the ANC…

A vehicle can be impounded for various reasons under the NRTA. But it, or the proceeds of its sale, can be forfeited to the State only in very limited circumstances.

I don’t know what is allowable under other statutes.

That is EXACTLY the punishment that must be dished out to dangerous road users!

Too many authorities are only interested in Road Safety because of the opportunity it presents to extort money from the situation. I’m looking at you, JP Smith and Cape Town Municipality! And yes, you’ve got LOTS of company here.

Take the money-making aspect (monetary fines) COMPLETELY out of road safety, and just impound vehicles AND the offender’s driving licence for a short period.

That way, the bad, dangerous drivers are not merely disciplined. They are REMOVED from the road. And then the roads will become both safer AND pleasanter.

This is a no-brainer.

The minute a politician is more interested in how he must now compensate for the “loss of revenue”, is when you find who is REALLY interested in Road Safety, or is just another talking-head dumbass (and is the reason why we have continued ZERO success with Road Safety) .

Driving, and you don’t have a licence in the first place? Well then, you don’t get your vehicle back until you have obtained a valid licence. Shem!

Another vehicle for corruption. It’s no secret that the bribes are paid. If you’re wrongfully accused you’ll have no right to defend yourself in a Court of Law as your constitutional right to defend yourself is also taken away. I for one are of the opinion that this matter should be taken to the ConCourt.

Removing the privilege to transport myself, because of the accumulation of petty violations, will be reason I finally leave this country.

Good luck with that. Most developed nations have points-demerit systems far more stringent than AARTO.

True. But they do not have corrupt and bribable traffic officers.

This is true, but these countries typically do not use their traffic fines as a source of revenue for municipalities. Here, dodgy, hopelessly bankrupt municipalities use hidden and devious speeding entrapment to raise general revenue to fund the mayor’s annual golf day and trips to “conferences” abroad. Without an incorruptible police force, there can be no trust in such a system.

Ever more socialist nonsense – the “citizens” have been reduced to “subjects”.
While the subjects get policed, intimidated, fined and soon prohibited from driving without bribing the appropriate cadre, the useless politicians get whisked around the country and the world by reckless and increasingly aggressive blue light brigades and chartered jets. All paid for by the subjects. Don’t you just love *african constitutional democracy*(TM).

I am more concerned about how this law is passed into law – who proposes the wording and the implications of this legislation and who supports it surely it is something that has to be changed by a body of people. If it is a body of people who are they and how are they permitted to enact such law changes. If it is a bunch of politicians that enact the changes do they ever consider the ramifications of their votes and/or the consequences. Do they vote formally or do they vote law changes over tea

This is a serious own-goal in progress! What happens when the taxis lose their licenses in the thousands (should take some of them a couple of weeks the way they drive)? What will government do then? They never have the stomach for a fight and the taxi bosses are notoriously tough!

Thank you for this informative and sane comment, Rob. Was more useful and educational than the original article – by far!

The ongoing extortion of “payments” from motorists in the way of fines or tolls has got NOTHING to do with Road Safety. It has become just another “vehicle” (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun) to SURREPTITIOUSLY increase the tax burden on ordinary PEOPLE, and avoid drawing attention to this deliberate process of creeping taxation.

OUTA has got rocks in their PR heads if they think they will persuade the public or politicians by thrusting verbose 65-page reports on them to read.

Someone had a conspiracy theory about Ramaphosa a while back and I am starting to believe it. He is just a pawn being used to sign into law all the looters’ most disastrous ideas, while purporting to fight corruption. Once that has been accomplished, he will be ousted and the looting go into freefall. Meanwhile Ramaphosa will be remembered as the worst president in the history of South Africa for having been the facilitator of our demise.

Let me guess: the TAXI industry will be exempted! (..as you cannot expect thugs to comply)

Solution? I will re-register my personal car as a private Taxi (will have sticker/emblems on it the doors “tariff from R5,000 per trip”). And will purchase professional drivers’ licence.

I will out-price myself, so I can drive along unfettered. And fully exempted from Aarto rules…

Govt can do what it wants…so can (paying) citizens! How long before a general revolt?

I’m killing myself with laughter. This Government thinks it can administer a demerit system. Ha ha ha ha.

And I’m sure that within the fine print of the legislation, taxi drivers will be excluded from “demerit” as they were excluded from the e-toll scam.

As they are exempt from the car seat legislation. Babies and children in taxi’s apparently do not need to stay alive in an accident. And, I believe seat belts are also not required. Death traps with no regard to the rule of the road, nor passenger safety.

We need a demerit system for government. Once the revolutionary masters have used up all their points – they’re gone….

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