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Is SA ready for Aarto roll-out? AA calls for clarity

Motorists across South Africa have expressed mixed feelings after the announcement of the AARTO Amendment Act, which is a set of laws and regulations aimed at improving road safety by holding motorists accountable for traffic violations. This is done through implementing stringent protocols by means of the new demerit-point system, The South African reports.

However, the National Taxi Alliance (NTA) has reportedly vowed to disobey the Act, which is expected to come into effect from Thursday, July 1. According to The Star, NTA spokesperson, Theo Malele said that the system was disastrous for taxi owners, who risk losing their licences if demerit points are allocated to them for road violations.

“We will not recognise the system because there are shortfalls… the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) was supposed to conduct a workshop but they will shield themselves with the Covid pandemic – why couldn’t they delay if they want to blame Covid?,” said Malele.

Advocate Stefanie Fick, who is an executive director of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) and heads its accountability division reportedly said that the government should rather consider employing more traffic officers instead of implementing systems that are likely to fail.

“Practically they are not ready; they need to reverse this date until then. This roll-out is nationwide, the system was a flop in two municipalities,” she added.

Meanwhile, according to TimesLive, the Automobile Association (AA) says that too many motorists are unaware of what will happen on July 1 and how the introduction of this system will impact on them.

“We raised concerns earlier this month about the lack of information, and the exact time frames for the implementation of Aarto. While there has been some reporting on the phased approach which will be followed, this has not been widely communicated to the public by the RTIA [Road Traffic Infringement Agency]. Individuals and businesses are rightly concerned because Aarto will have an impact on them, especially on businesses as the costs of compliance with the system will be high.

“The introduction of Aarto is a major development for road users in SA and the RTIA and the Department of Transport must do more to inform the public on what is happening. It’s only fair that details on a system that will have such significant impacts on motoring in the country are communicated clearly so everyone knows precisely where they stand in relation to the new rules,” the AA said.

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