South Africa’s new driving demerit system will be in full effect from next year

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has announced that the start date for the new Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act will soon be proclaimed, but noted that it will be ‘in full effect from June next year (2020)’.

Speaking at the launch of Transport Month in Gauteng on Saturday (5 October), Mbalula said that the new system will greatly improve safety on the country’s roads and help reduce fatalities.

The new laws were signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in August, despite opposition to some of the new policies.

The legislation is perhaps known for its proposed introduction of a demerit system for South African drivers, and it is expected to fundamentally change driving in the country.

Some of the biggest changes include:

  • A new demerit system will be introduced. Depending on the severity of the offence, 1-6 points are allocated for offences. If an infringer has more than 12 points, it will result in the disqualification of the driving licence and three suspensions result in its cancellation;
  • Failing to pay traffic fines can lead to a block on obtaining driving and vehicle licences and an administrative fee – in addition to other penalties;
  • Where documents previously had to be delivered by registered mail through the post office, in terms of the amendment, authorities will now also be able to serve documents electronically and can send reminders via WhatsApp and SMS;
  • The establishment of a new Appeals Tribunal which will preside over issues that are raised under the new bill.

The start date for the implementation must still be officially proclaimed by Ramaphosa in a government gazette.

Read: South Africa’s new demerit system spells big trouble for anyone who drives for a living

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South Africa’s new driving demerit system will be in full effect from next year