South Africa’s new licence demerit system is being rolled out – here’s what you need to know

The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (Aarto) Amendment Bill has been passed by parliament and is now ready to be signed into law by the President.

Speaking at the launch of his 2019 Easter Road Safety Campaign on Monday (8 April), minister of Transport Blade Nzimande said that his department was already preparing for the introduction of the new bill.

“Through the Aarto Amendment Bill, we will be introducing the points demerit system,” he said.

“This system will allow us to identify, rehabilitate and ultimately eliminate habitual offenders found on our road transport network.”

Nzimande said that his department had begun the rollout of Aarto service outlets at selected driving licence testing centres in Gauteng.

“We will continue to roll out these centres countrywide. This means that all road users will be accountable for any deviant and reckless actions perpetrated on our roads,” Nzimande said.

The outlets 

The first service outlet was opened at the Randburg licensing centre at the end of March with plans to cover the entire Johannesburg and Tshwane metros in the coming months.

Speaking to BusinessTech, Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) spokesperson, Monde Mkalipi, said that the service outlets will be rolled out across the country in preparation of the new road regulations.

The outlets have two main priorities: public information and services, he said.

“These outlets will be the hub of public education – informing motorists of their rights and options as contained in the Aarto Act,” he said.

“Previously we had a culture of ‘guilty as fined’, but under the new regime, we need to inform South Africans that if they commit an infringement it is not necessarily a criminal offence.”

Mkalipi said the outlets will specifically focus on informing motorists of the following five options:

  • If you commit an infringement you have 32 days in which to pay the fine and receive a 50% discount;
  • If you commit an infringement you can always dispute it using ‘representation’ to prove that there are particular circumstances behind why you infringed. Mkalipi provided the example of breaking the speed limit while rushing a child to the hospital. “You can always provide documents that show that on this particular date and at this particular time I was rushing my child,” he said. “You can then apply for your infringement notice to be cancelled”;
  • Any infringement that exceeds R750 can be paid for in instalments;
  • In the case where someone else is driving your car, you can indicate that it was not you who infringed and the fine can be re-routed to the actual infringer;
  • You can elect to have your infringements taken to court directly.

Forms

Mkalipi said that all of the issues above can be dealt with directly at a service outlet.

“There is a form for representation, there is a form for paying for instalments, a form to elect to go to court and so on,” he said.

“You can submit this form on the spot provided you have attached the necessary documents and information.

“It is very critical that motorists know about Aarto before its implementation. That’s why we are prioritising public education and making sure that all of these services are available at every outlet.

Mkalipi said that Aarto bill specifically states that government must prepare for the roll-out.

“That bill is going to be assented by the president quite soon, and as soon as it is asserted that will be a signal that we must roll-out nationally,” he said.

“What we are doing now is preparing all the groundwork in terms of checking the state of readiness across the country.

“We have been to all the districts throughout South Africa, spoken to all the authorities and ensuring that we are prepared in terms of connectivity.”


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South Africa’s new licence demerit system is being rolled out – here’s what you need to know