Transport minister Fikile Mbalula says that conduct of taxi operators on the road – displaying flagrant disregard of the law and the rights of other road users – remains a pervasive problem.
Speaking at the launch of a taxi lekgotla on Friday (11 September), he said that it was an ‘open secret’ that self-regulation in this regard has failed.
“The discussions must give serious consideration to a penalty regime, which may, amongst others include a form of a demerit system similar to (the) Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto),” he said.
“Shoddy customer service and safety of commuters continue to characterise industry operations. In building a customer-centric ethos, the rights and interests of passengers and other road users, must always underpin the future taxi industry we want to build.”
In June, the Department of Transport said has delayed the national rollout date for the 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.”
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.