South Africa’s new driving demerit system has been delayed – what you need to know

The Department of Transport has delayed the national rollout date for the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act due to the coronavirus.

The Act was signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa in August 2019 and although no date was officially promulgated, it was intended to take national effect by mid-2020.

“The impact of the Covid-19 outbreak has severely compromised the capacity of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), which is the entity responsible for the rollout of Aarto, as well as other prerequisites determining the rollout date and has resulted in a severe loss of revenue to support the preparatory activities,” the department said.

“For this reason, RTIA is in no position at this stage, to successfully conduct the national rollout of Aarto. The situation will be reviewed in due course for further determination as to when the rollout date will be promulgated.”

Demerit system 

The government hopes to improve driving on the country’s roads through the introduction of the new Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act.

The Act will do this through the introduction of a new demerit system for South African drivers, which is expected to fundamentally change driving in the country.

Depending on the severity of the offence,  points are allocated for offences. If an infringer passes a points threshold, it will result in the disqualification of the driving licence and three suspensions result in its cancellation.

The system has not been without criticism, with organisations such as Outa, the AA and JPSA pointing out several faults and hidden charges with it.

These include a R100 penalty fee attached to each infringement, and having to pay admin fees to contest fines. There are also concerns that the act, in its current wording, could be fined for not paying e-tolls.


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South Africa’s new driving demerit system has been delayed – what you need to know