South Africa’s controversial Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) bill has received a majority vote in favour of it by the National Assembly. The vote took place on Tuesday, March 5, and the bill will now make its way to President Cyril Ramaphosa for assent before being signed into law.
Ramaphosa will have discretion as to when exactly the new laws of the bill will come into play.
The bill has been met with much resistance from motorists across the country, and is predicted to fundamentally change the way in which drivers conduct themselves on South African roads.
These changes include:
– failure to settle one’s traffic fines will lead to a block in obtaining driving and vehicle licences, as well as a penalty in the form of an administrative fee
– authorities will now be able to serve documents electronically, instead of through the traditional channel of delivering documents by hand
– reminders can now be sent via SMS or WhatsApp
– the new demerit system will mean that one to six points will be allocated per offence. If a motorist accrues more than 12 points, their licence will be disqualified. After three suspensions, their licence will be revoked completely.
Although the AARTO bill has existed for more than four years, it has always been met with furor from motorists.
“As a country, we are experiencing an average of just under 14,000 [road] deaths per annum, which equates to about 38 people every single day, who lose their lives on our roads,” Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande said in February. “It will be for the first time that government brings certainty and effective mechanism to ensure that persistent offenders are taken off the road through licence suspension/removal or loss of the operators’ licences.”