Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula has stated that the driver’s licence demerit system which forms part of the Aarto Act will only be implemented in July 2022.
Mbalula made the statement in a media briefing, as reported by BusinessTech.
Aarto (Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences) was due to come into effect on 1 July, and bring several changes to driving rules in the country.
Under Aarto, drivers will be given demerit points when they break traffic rules – with a set amount of demerit points allocated depending on the severity of the offence.
If drivers commit multiple offences in a set period of time, they can have their driver’s licence suspended.
Delayed until 2022
The announcement of the delay follows uncertainty about the Aarto roll-out in the country.
A well-defined timeline for the implementation of Aarto was not provided by the Department of Transport and the Road Traffic Infringement Agency before 1 July.
The department had stated that the new road rules would be rolled out over multiple phases – with each lasting around three months – but no set dates were given.
Transport Director-General Alec Moemi previously stated that the first phase of the Aarto roll-out, from 1 July, would consist of “setting up the registry and other requirements”.
At the time, it had not been decided how the demerit points system for local drivers would be phased in.
Mbalula has now announced new dates for the roll-out of Aarto, as detailed below.
- Phase 1 (1 July to 30 September 2021) – 7 Aarto service outlets will be established nationally, eNatis will be enabled to collect Aarto payments, a communications campaign to educate motorists will run.
- Phase 2 (1 October to 31 December 2021) – 67 local metropolitan authorities will come online for Aarto processing. The adjudication process and Appeals Tribunal will start functioning. 18 more Aarto service outlets will be established.
- Phase 3 (1 January to 30 June 2022) – 144 municipal areas will be added to the Aarto system.
- Phase 4 (1 July 2022) – The introduction of the points demerit system. A rehabilitation programme for repeat offenders will run.
The AA has welcomed the new timelines, stating that “we at least have a better roadmap going forward”.
It added, however, that it has reservations about the changes brought about by Aarto – as they do not promote road safety.
Instead, they are geared towards “revenue collection”, it said.