The signing of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Amendment Bill into law will assist the country to curb the high number of road fatalities on the country's road, says Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
"We are burying far too many people as a result of crashes. In 2018 alone, 12 921 people lost their lives in road collisions in South Africa.
"Each death represented an average loss of R4.6 million to the economy, in terms of lost productivity, pain and suffering as well as legal and funeral costs," the Minister said.
He was on Sunday addressing members of the media at the N1 North Carousel Plaza at Maubane off-ramp on the Aarto Act and its implementation.
The Aarto Act makes way for the following provisions:
- Points Demerit System: This is an objective and fair system of identifying reckless drivers and law breakers so that they can be removed from the roads.
- Common penalties: All traffic violations throughout the country will carry the same penal values.
- Electronic service: This means that law enforcement can be effectively supported by technology, servicing documents by electronic means, such as e-mail. Similarly, infringers can exercise their options electronically.
- Infringement Appeals Tribunal: Where infringers can appeal against the rulings of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) to the tribunal.
- Repeal of court elections: Where infringers do not have to be burdened by the courts for infringements.
- Driver rehabilitation programmes: Infringers who have their licences suspended can attend rehabilitation programmes before being allowed back on the road. This shows that Aarto is not just about punishment but has intentions to ensure compliance and change of road user behaviour.
The Amendment Bill was developed in 2013 and spent almost two years at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), incorporating comments and input by various representatives of labour, business and community organisations.
It was approved by Cabinet in 2015, tabled in Parliament in November 2015 and thereafter it was engaged upon by the Portfolio Committee on Transport.
South Africans were invited to comment on the bill on three separate occasions. The bill was then approved by the National Assembly in 2017 and thereafter submitted to the National Council of Provinces (NCoP).
The NCoP deliberated on the bill and submitted it to the nine Provincial Legislatures, which then cascaded it further by engaging members of the public in various districts through public hearings from 2017 till 2018.