There have been mixed reactions regarding the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Amendment Bill, which was recently signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The Aarto Act will be implemented once it has been published in the Government Gazette, and is expected to help improve fine collection procedures and revenue stream that will be used for improving road safety.
The Aarto Act works on a demerit system, with one of the penalties being that should a driver have more than 13 demerits, they will have their licence suspended for three months. Local residents voice their opinions on the matter:
I feel it’s unfair because the people who are doing their part on the road are now going to get discriminated against. Now somebody else is going to do something wrong on the road and you are going to lose points because of that person. I think it’s truly unfair. This is going to make fraud bigger because now the bribes are going to run higher. – Elsabé van der Merwe
It’s great, I’m hopeful. I’ve been driving for 25 years and I think this is going to be an improvement for our roads. – Jaco van Tonder
For me as a driver it’s great, because when I’m driving I will know that the limit of risk that I’m taking and I think it’s very fair. But when they say the courts will determine certain fines, that I’m not sure about. I think they should have been specific towards the minimum sentence or punishment that a court is going to hand to you, then you will know that if I do this, then this is what I will get out of it. – Nkosinathi Dangube
It’s not going to work, it’s going to take away people’s rights. It’s very arbitrary and it’s going to be very discriminative. I think the points should determine the level of your offense and not be the determining factor regarding the removal of your licence. However, as a resident of Lesotho, driving on South African roads I’m hopeful that this will make roads safer. – Khauhelo Fanyane
As a taxi driver, the last thing I want to get involved in is an accident with passengers in my vehicle. I’m working for my children and the last thing I would want is to get injured and not be able to provide for them. But I feel that traffic officials are putting most of the blame on taxi drivers and not on private car owners. I think they should have rather focused on the matter of drunk drivers, more road blocks are needed to tackle this matter. Drunk drivers on the road cause the most damage to society because they not only endanger their lives but those of other road users too. – David Monyaki