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Aarto rollout still mired in confusion, says AA

29 June 2021 - 12:46 By Motoring Reporter and AASA
The Automobile Association (AA) says too many motorists are in the dark as to what will happen when AARTO rolls out on July 1.
The Automobile Association (AA) says too many motorists are in the dark as to what will happen when AARTO rolls out on July 1.
Image: Lucky Nxumalo

With July 1 now just a day away, details of the planned rollout of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (Aarto) are still lacking and it is becoming increasingly urgent for government, and the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), to inform the public of exactly what the process will be.

The Automobile Association (AA) says too many motorists are in the dark as to what will happen on July 1, if anything, and how the introduction of the system will impact on them.

The RTIA is the agency which administers Aarto and will also house the Aarto Appeals Tribunal which will adjudicate challenges motorists have to infringement notices issued to 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. 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,” notes the AA.

To address some issues raised by AA members in relation to Aarto, the association has published an Aarto launch summary on its website for all motorists.

“In October last year we raised our concerns that Aarto does not support government’s stated intention of promoting road safety but that it is instead a more effective mechanism for revenue collection. We raised these and other concerns in our submission on the proposed amendments to the Aarto regulations. Sadly, there has been no clarification on the final Aarto Act, and motorists throughout the country are still unsure of what will happen come July 1,” says the AA.

The AA’s full submission on the proposed amendments to the Aarto regulations is available here. The association’s press statement on the proposed amendments is available here. 

In a previous statement on the rollout of Aarto, the AA noted that the last public pronouncement on Aarto was on May 19 2021 when the director-general of the Department of Transport, Alec Moemi, briefed the National Council of Province’s select committee on transport, public service and administration, public works and infrastructure about the department's annual performance plan.

During that briefing, Moemi said phase 1 of Aarto would commence on July 1. According to him this phase entails “setting up the registry and all requirements, ultimately working towards the introduction of a demerit system. There are five phases for the rollout process.”

Though the RTIA has clarified that Aarto will be phased in from July 1, there is still too much confusion over the exact time frames, and when the system will finally be active. 

“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,” concludes the AA.