Transport Minister Mbalula on the AARTO National Rollout

01 July 2021 | From Arrive Alive


Minister Mbalula

Programm Director, 
Deputy Minister of Transport, Hon. Dikeledi Magadzi,
MEC for Transport in Gauteng, Hon. Jacob Mamabolo
MEC from all provinces, joining us virtually, 
Board Chairperson of RTIA, Ms Bongekile Zulu 
Acting Director General, Mr Chris Hlabisa
Acting Registrar of RTIA, Ms Dalian Mabula
Ladies and Gentlemen,

When his Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the AARTO Amendment Act into law on 13 August 2019, this 6th administration made a firm commitment to the citizenry, that service delivery will be undertaken with great speed. 

I spoke about one of the interventions which will deal a decisive blow to lawlessness on our roads, which is the implementation of the AARTO Act.

We have done some of the consultations with the relevant stakeholders at various platforms for the last few years. Today we mark a milestone with the process towards AARTO National Rollout which has been a long time coming.  

As indicated in my Budget Speech 2021, that over the medium term, we have allocated to the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) R545 million to fund the rollout. 

Of that entire amount, R215 million has been allocated for the current financial year. We are on track with our target and indeed, today kick start the process towards a nationwide rollout of AARTO as promised.

However, it is prudent to take the nation into confidence that the rollout we are witnessing today has not been without challenges. 

Today we give a clear account of the challenges experienced which have led to a decision to adopt a phased approach to this critical road safety intervention. 

After the Amendment Act was promulgated during September 2019 the Department immediately commenced with the process of drafting the supporting Regulations which were published in November 2019. After the closing date of that process, the Department was faced with mounting extension requests from key stakeholders who had missed the submission deadline, which could not be ignored.

The Department then took a decision to restart the process of publishing the Regulations during January 2020; in the interest of inclusivity and fairness, so as to give those critical stakeholders an opportunity to participate in the Regulation making process.

As history has now recorded, towards the first end of the first quarter of 2020, the country unfortunately went through the Covid-19 pandemic which necessitated the related level 5 lockdown. ; which disrupted almost the entire social and economic activities throughout the country. 

This reduction of the country into an economic standstill inevitably impacted on the revenue performance of the Agency and its resultant incapability to implement the AARTO Rollout because of its poor financial base.

A decision was therefore taken to postpone the process towards AARTO Rollout set for July 2020 and embarked on a process of seeking additional funding from National Treasury to recapitalise the operations of the Agency as pronounced in my 2021/22 Budget Vote Speech alluded to above.

With the second publishing of the Regulations as requested by our stakeholders, meant the period of public comments to the AARTO Regulations closed on the 2nd of December 2020, whereupon the Department received a total of 9288 public submissions.

The adjudication team comprising of officials from the Department and the RTIA was assembled during January 2021, to assess and make decisions on the public submissions. 

Such process was a very protracted exercise and it was completed at the end of April 2021 and had to be further referred to the State Law Adviser for the latter’s expression of its legal opinion on the content.

The State Law process was subsequently completed at the beginning of May 2021 and the Department and the Agency had to embark on another exercise of engaging with further comments which were made by the State Law Adviser in its legal opinion, a process which has since been completed awaiting proclamation of the Regulations. 

It is only after the finalization of the concurrence process with the Minister of Justice and relevant MEC’s, that the President can be approached to pass the proclamation notice of the AARTO Amendment Act 4 of 2019.

Ladies and gentleman, we are aware of the comments and questions that the public has with regards to the AARTO National Rollout and the Points Demerit System. 

The frustrations shared by the public are understandable and this is the reason we have deemed it important to share the struggles had to be endured to get to the point we are today.

The current economic climate requires us to be sensitive to the plight of our people, as we find ourselves in the eye of the third wave with devastating consequences and loss of life. 

Mindful of the difficult economic climate, government has had to respond to the circumstances in rolling out this critical intervention set to change the landscape to reduce the high rate of non-compliance to traffic laws and to inculcate a new habit of voluntary compliance to road traffic laws.

Recognizing that AARTO has been successfully operational in the metros of Johannesburg and Tshwane since 2008, although with some teething problems that were dealt with, this National Rollout means the entire AARTO Amendment Act 4 of 2019 with regulations is now incrementally being put in force in a phased approach that will culminate with the Points Demerit System. 

The impact of the points demerit system embedded in the AARTO process is such that there will be an allocation of demerit points for specific transgressions committed by infringers on our roads. 

This is an objective and fair system of identifying reckless drivers and law breakers so that we can remove them from the driving fold.

Similarly, common penalties are being introduced for all traffic violations throughout the country and will carry the same penal values. 

Electronic service will begin in earnest which means that law enforcement can be effectively supported by technology, servicing documents by electronic means, such as e-mail. 

In addition, infringers can exercise their elective options accompanied by the introduction of the

Independent Appeals Tribunal, where Infringers can appeal against the rulings of the RTIA to the tribunal where such representations were not successful.

Moving forward, the AARTO rollout ensures that infringers do not have to be burden the courts with some of these infringements.

This also sees the introduction of Driver Rehabilitation programmes for habitual infringers, where infringers who have their licences cancelled can attend rehabilitation programmes before being allowed back in the driving fold. This shows that the

AARTO is not just about punishment but has intentions to ensure compliance and change of road user behaviour.

In order to sensitise the public to the changes brought by this AARTO legislation, serious considerations have been given to educate and empower the public on the manner in which this law will impact road users. 

It is therefore, deemed prudent that this rollout be introduced in phases to ensure that all metros and local municipalities fully adhere to the legislation with lessons learnt from the operational jurisdictions of Johannesburg and Tshwane used as a yard stick for maximum impact.

The achievement of this process towards a rollout is as a result of the collective effort with critical stakeholders in the AARTO value chain listed but not limited to the following:

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) – for all the systems and the National Contraventions Register (NCR)

South African Post Office (SAPO) – for the serving of all notices as per the requirement of the AARTO Act.

Government Printing Works (GPW) – for the supply of AARTO stationary to all Issuing Authorities.

The AARTO National Steering Committee(ANSC) – Ensuring that all provinces participate and have a voice in the AARTO process led by the Department.

The phased in approach to the AARTO National Rollout can be summarised as follows:

Phase 1: Starts from 01 July 2021 – 30 September 2021 consisting of:

• Establishing of 7 service outlets
• Enable the NaTIS system to collect AARTO payments at collecting agents
• Allowing elective options to be processed in IAs and service outlets
• Communication and education awareness campaigns

Phase 2: Starts from 01 October 2021 – 31 December 2021

• Coming online of 67 Local and Metropolitan Municipal Areas Proclaimed for AARTO Roll-Out
• Establishment of more 18 service outlets
• Adjudication process coming online in all provinces
• Appeals Tribunal coming in to full operation

Phase 3: Starts from 01 January 2022 – 30 June 2022

• Inclusion of the 144 Remaining Local Municipal Areas Proclaimed for AARTO Roll-Out

Phase 4: Starts from 01 July 2022 – 01 July 2022

• Coming online of the Points Demerit System (PDS)
• The Rehabilitation Programme
• Establishment of 20 AARTO self-service kiosks

As we pronounce the process towards the national rollout today, the First Phase of the AARTO Rollout running from 01 July 2021 to 30 September 2021 comes into effect. 

This phase is intended to increase the footprint of the RTIA nationally to be closer to the people, through seven (7) AARTO service outlets and online services such as the AARTO website and the AARTO mobile application. 

These service outlets will allow the public to exercise their AARTO elective options especially those in rural communities. Issuing authorities in all provinces will be in a position to facilitate access to the elective options and give the public the ability to pay for their infringements anywhere in the country. 

This phase will be accompanied by aggressive public awareness and education campaigns to ensure that all road users are empowered with AARTO education in a language they can understand. 

The Second Phase of the rollout will commence from 01 October 2021 which is beginning of October Transport Month to 31 December 2021 as per the proclamation of the AARTO Act 46, of 1998 as amended which will witness 67 Local and Metropolitan Municipal Areas coming online with the AARTO process, details to be provided. 

The Adjudication Process and Appeals Tribunal will be set in motion to assist infringers resolve their traffic infringements with ease without burdening the courts of law. If an alleged infringer is not in agreement with the adjudication results, they can approach the independent Appeals Tribunal as a recourse in the administrative justice process. 

This will reduce the burden on the courts and decriminalise traffic infringements, save for offenses that will be dealt with by the courts.

This will be adopted to ensure a seamless transition, further enhanced with the coming online of another eighteen (18) AARTO service outlets with intensified public awareness and education campaigns.

The Third Phase of the rollout will run from 01 January 2022 to 30 June 2022 and will be characterised by the coming on board of the remaining 144 Local Municipal Areas as proclaimed.

The Fourth Phase will wrap up the entire implementation of AARTO in 01 July 2022 when the Points Demerit System and Driver Rehabilitation Programmes will be introduced. 

By the time we reach this milestone, there will be no excuse among our road users that they do not understand the implications and consequences of the AARTO process. Schedule 3 of the AARTO Regulations will provide for a comprehensive list of demerit points allocated for every identified  or offence.  The threshold level of demerit points is 15 points.  

Upon exceeding the threshold mark, one’s driving license gets suspended for a period of three months for every point that the threshold has been exceeded.  The reduction is one point for every three months that a motorist remains violation-free.  

Considering the significant impact that the points demerit system will have on the public, it is critical that intensive public awareness and education campaigns are intensified to ensure that every road user in the country understand the implications of the suspension and cancellation of lisences due to non-compliant behavior with road traffic laws.

We must be mindful that AARTO is being introduced to save lives and if you are compliant with all road traffic laws you have nothing to worry about. South Africa has to remain true to the commitments made to the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021 – 2030. We have made a commitment to arresting the carnage on our roads and committed to re-imagine our approach to road safety and making sure our people arrive alive when using our roads.

End
 

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