December 19, 2022
Find out about the new driving demerit system including, when it could start in South Africa, and why it should be in place.1,2,3
The law covering the Points Demerit System came into effect in September 1998 as part of the AAARTO or Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act. The system is similar that used by several European countries. In summary, motorist’s licence accumulates points when they commit a road offence. Once the motorist has reached a specific number of points, the system will suspend their licence. If the driver continues to disobey the law, authorities can remove or cancel their licence.1
The AARTO Act was due to start in July 2022, including the new driving demerit system. The Government implemented the AARTO system nationally in phases since June 2021, with the third phase due in January 2022.2
In January 2022, the High Court declared the AARTO Act and the AARTO Amendment Act invalid and unconstitutional.2
According to Eyewitness News, the court found that AARTO Act had erred regarding the legislative authority of provincial and local governments. OUTA, or the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, maintained that the system had caused the local and provincial governments to surrender their constitutional powers to the Road Traffic Infringement Authority and the Appeals Tribunal.3
On Tuesday, 15 November 2022, OUTA said that it was confirming in the Constitutional Court a Pretoria High Court ruling that scrapped the AARTO Act.3
The Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, appealed against the Constitutional Court's ruling because the High Court’s ruling was incorrect according to him. His reason was that the Amendment Act falls under the control of the road traffic regulation and that provincial legislature does not have an exclusive say on the matter.3
This legal move nullifies the schedule called the “AARTO charge book”. The latter describes the different traffic violations and the resulting sanctions. The ruling was because of OUTA’s original challenge launched in 2020.3
According to Cars.co.za, the AARTO system does not entirely improve road safety but is a means to produce revenue. The AA backs the demerit system but agrees that it needs to address the current poor driving conduct in South Africa, which is a major challenge on our roads that legislation alone cannot alter.1
The annual road fatalities in South Africa are a national crisis and are amongst the highest globally. The only way to reduce these numbers is through proper implementation of the law and its enforcement. According to the AA, or Automobile Association of South Africa, authorities need to examine the fundamental causes of poor road safety instead of implement a system without considering the capacity of state services and law enforcement.1
Unfortunately, it is unknown at this stage.1,2,3
Because of the poor driving of some motorists on our roads, you should protect your car
with good car insurance. Contact us at PMD for information on our affordable car insurance products and experience our world-class client service, and unique benefits such as fixed premiums* and a reduce-to-zero excess*. T’s and C’s apply.
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