The Road Traffic Management Agency’s (RTIA’s) decision to terminate the employment contract of its former chief executive Japh Chuwe raises serious questions about the future of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto), says the Automobile Association (AA) of South Africa.
The Aarto system, which will be fully introduced by July 2022, aims to penalise drivers and fleet operators guilty of traffic offences or infringements by imposing demerit points that could lead to the suspension or cancellation of licences, professional driving permits or operator cards.
The AA has now written to parliament seeking:
- A halt to the rollout of the Aarto;
- The dissolution of the RTIA through the repeal of the Aarto Act;
- Clarification on the details of why Chuwe’s contract was terminated.
“The failure of the RTIA to implement a just, equitable and effective traffic enforcement system, therefore, rests primarily with Mr Chuwe. Under his tenure, the organisation was dysfunctional, unable to implement and administer Aaarto,” the AA said in its letter to parliament.
“In addition, the details of the reasons for which Chuwe was dismissed must be released in full, including all material dates and events, the rand-value of any financial loss to the RTIA and, should any losses have occurred, the steps government is taking to recover these losses,” it said.
The AA has previously raised concerns about the implementation of the Aarto, saying that while it supports the introduction of a points demerit system, the current regulations are more geared towards revenue collection and do not promote road safety.
“The time has come for parliament to place road safety above profit, and a significant step in that direction will be to ensure a halt to the implementation of the current Aarto Act, and to ventilate, in public, all the reasons why Mr Chuwe’s contract was terminated.
“South Africans have a right to understand the circumstances under which a chief executive of an important institution such as the RTIA has been dismissed,” the AA said.
The Aarto is currently being introduced in a phased rollout ahead of its full introduction in mid-2022.
Phase 1 of the Aarto, which ran from July to September 2021, has seen the RTIA increase its national footprint by implementing seven service outlets and online services such as the Aarto website and deploying the Aarto mobile application.
Phase 2 of the project, which is running between October and December 2021, will see the Aarto come online in 67 local and metropolitan, municipal areas, the agency said.
The agency said that the project is still on track for all four phases, with the new points demerit system and driver rehabilitation programme going live on 1 July 2022.
A further breakdown of the different phases can be found below:
|Phase 1||1 July 2021 –
30 September 2021
|Phase 2||1 October 2021 –
31 December 2021
|Phase 3||1 January 2022 –
30 June 2022
|Phase 4||1 July 2022||