The controversial demerit system is one step closer to being implemented as law after the National Assembly passed the bill this week.
After the consultation process‚ the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Amendment Bill was passed in parliament this week‚ with only the endorsement of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and President Jacob Zuma’s signature needed for it to become law.
Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) spokesperson Monde Mkalipi said before it can become law it needs to pass through the second house of Parliament.
“The NCOP will open another consultative process for all stakeholders to raise their opinions and make contributions to the AARTO Amendment Bill‚” he said.
“The RTIA would like to encourage all stakeholders‚ including Justice Project South Africa to make use of the consultative window periods opened in the law-making process of Parliament.
“The RTIA hopes all stakeholders will be able to arrive at consensus on this critical road traffic management legislation. Points Demerit System is also central in curbing the rising fatalities on our roads‚” said Mkapili.
Howard Dembovsky‚ chairperson of the Justice Project and a critic of the AARTO Bill‚ said he would take the matter to court if it was passed by the NCOP.
“They’ve got two choices now: repeal the AARTO Bill‚ or we’re going to court‚” he said.
“Something is terribly wrong here. This not only violates the constitution‚ but also the principles of the justice system‚” Dembovsky said.
He said the demerit system introduced by the AARTO Act will leave motorists powerless to defend themselves.
Dembovsky said the removal of the lower court system from the AARTO process and replacing it with a compulsion to make written submissions‚ where one needs to pay an application fee‚ to a tribunal is nothing short of a means to make money.
“They’ve turned traffic law enforcement into one thing‚ and one thing only‚ and that’s a revenue income stream‚” he said.
Dembovsky said the demerit system could be applied against the driving licences of proxies for juristic entities which are registered owners of motor vehicles.
“This means the actual drivers who commit such infringements will be able to evade the points-demerit system‚ by simply driving vehicles registered to juristic entities‚” he said.
HOW DOES THE DEMERIT SYSTEM WORK?
The draft regulations drawn up for the AARTO Act explains that all drivers and cars will start with zero points. Points are allocated to drivers and cars based on infringements‚ and demerit points will be deducted at a rate of one point for every three months on the provision that no additional points have been incurred over the three month period.
– Driving without a seatbelt and driving 131-135 km/h in a 120 km/h speed zone would see drivers get a R250 fine and no demerit points.
Offences including driving an unregistered or unlicensed vehicle‚ driving with no licence plate visible‚ driving while holding and using a cell phone‚ skipping a stop sign and skipping a red light would see drivers fined R500 and get one demerit point.
– Overtaking across a barrier line or skipping a stop sign or red light while driving a bus or truck‚ doing 81-85 km/h in a 60 km/h zone or 141-145 km/h in a 120 km/h zone would see drivers fined R750 and receive two demerit points.
Three demerit points and a R1‚000 fine are awarded to drivers caught doing 106-110 km/h in an 80 km/h zone.
– Driving without a driving licence‚ going 131-135 km/h in a 100 km/h zone‚ or 151-155 km/h in a 120 km/h zone will see four demerit points and a fine of R1‚250 received by the driver.
– Five demerit points and a R1‚500 fine are awarded in the case of vehicles allowed a maximum combination mass of 56‚000 kg that are found to be overloaded.
– Six demerit points will be given to drivers driving under the influence‚ exceeding 100 km/h in a 60 km/h zone‚ 140 km/h in a 100 km/h zone‚ and 160 km/h in a 120 km/h zone. Further‚ the fine will be determined by a court.
by Jan Bornman – TimesLIVE