The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act will be implemented in five phases, each lasting around three months, starting on 1 July 2021. This is of huge concern for South African motorists and businesses that rely on road transport.
- From next month the agency will begin laying the groundwork for the national rollout of Aarto
- The AA says there are still too many unanswered questions surrounding the implementation of South Africa’s new driving infringement system
- The last official information the public received about Aarto was on 19 May 2021
- Phase 1 will also be where the RTIA ensures that the IT infrastructure is sufficient. This is so the National Traffic Information System (Natis) will be responsive to the Aarto system
- Each phase to take roughly three months to implement and that it is currently not decided how the demerit points system will be phased in
How the demerit points system works
Under the new demerit system, motorists will be allowed to accumulate 15 demerit points on their licence before it is suspended. A licence may be suspended twice before it is cancelled.
There are currently 2 659 offences listed on the Aarto website.
When you receive a fine, you can choose to do one of five things:
- Pay the fine within 32 days of receipt of the notice and receive an automatic 50% discount on the fine amount.
- If the infringement notice issued is being disputed, the alleged infringer is allowed to make a representation. RTIA will adjudicate on the merits and if successful, the issued infringement notice will be cancelled.
- Upon receipt of an infringement notice via registered mail, the alleged infringer is also allowed to make an arrangement with RTIA for paying their fine in instalments for fines of R750 or more over a period of six months.
- Elect to be tried in court.
- If they were not the designated driver of the vehicle at the time the traffic violation was committed, nominate a driver.
If you elect to the pay the fine, or if you lose your case in court, 0–6 demerit points will be added to your licence depending on the offence committed.
Receiving a fine after the implementation of the upcoming Aarto demerit system won’t only mean losing points against your licence, but you might also find yourself liable for an additional R100 in taxes, according to the Automobile Association.
This is what the AA interprets after studying the recently published draft regulations for the Aarto Act, where mention is made of an ‘Infringement Penalty Levy’.
“With regards to the Infringement Penalty Levy, the regulations directly imply the imposition of a tax. In this case, it refers to a fee payable for every infringement notice issued to motorists,” the AA said.
“On our interpretation of the draft regulation, this means an additional R100 is added to each fine issued, regardless of the value of the fine or its associated demerit points. In other words, if a motorist receives a R200 or R2000 fine, an additional R100 must be added for the Infringement Penalty Levy, which amounts to a tax for actually receiving the fine,” the AA added.
This could add up to a lot of money.
The association also criticised the “complicated and cumbersome” systems in place for motorists to check the status of their demerit points, and the lack of an easy online system for making inquiries. Instead, motorists must pay up to R240 to enquire as to the status of their demerit points.
Earlier this month, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced that Aarto was expected to be “in full effect” from June 2020.
As previously reported, motorists will lose a certain amount of points for every road infringement committed. This will differ depending on the offence in question. Most speeding fines will likely result in two to four points being deducted, while exceeding the limit by 40km/h or driving intoxicated will see six points deducted.
The points will accumulate over time and for every point exceeding 12 points, drivers will have their licence suspended for three months, only to be gained back at a rate of one point every three months, assuming that no further contraventions occur.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has previously expressed strong doubt that the government will be ready to implement Aarto by the middle of next year, and plans to challenge the constitutionality of the new law due to what it calls flawed administrative processes.
The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (AARTO) is a piece of legislation that has been around for some time, but is yet to be fully implemented.