Gauteng - The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport held its second round of public hearings into the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Bill.
Chairperson of the Committee, Dikeledi Magadzi said the importance and end-product of the Bill will be to ensure road safety and to decisively address the challenge of road carnage.
The stakeholders, that have made oral submissions in the two-day public hearings, included the South African National Taxi Council, the National Taxi Alliance, Business Unity SA, and the Road Freight Association.
Rehabilitation for bad drivers
Those found guilty of breaking road rules by a court of law will have to complete a mandatory rehabilitation programme under the new proposed demerit system, Parliament has heard.
The AARTO bill will establish rehabilitation centres around the country for such offenders, the portfolio committee on transport heard on Thursday (March 23). If a driver or taxi operator is arrested and found guilty of a road offence, they must attend a programme at a rehabilitation centre as part of their sentence, Peter Baloyi of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency said.
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Department of transport responds
Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, speaks on AARTO and its roll-out in South Africa:
Peters said: "Our Department has started a Parliamentary process led by the Portfolio Committee on Transport (PCoT) to extensively consult on the AARTO Amendment Bill. The RTIA, the custodian of the AARTO Act, calls upon all relevant stakeholders to participate in making submissions to the PCoT."
Once the Amendment Bill is passed by Parliament, and signed into law by the President, it will mean some of the following:
• tracking habitual road traffic law infringers,
• Points Demerit System will be fully implemented,
• Road Traffic Authorities will suspend the driving licences of perpetual violators,
• Operating licences of fleet owners will also be suspended should their vehicles exceed a certain number of traffic infringements,
• Compliance with AARTO legislation will create a law abiding road user behaviour, which will translate into safer use of our roads and, and therefore reduction in road fatalities.
AARTO Mobile Offices: How it works
Peters also outlined the launch of AARTO's mobile offices.
Peters said: "It is not by opportunism that the transport family chose the Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown to launch the AARTO Mobile Offices of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA). The reason to launch the programme in Kliptown seeks to make a call that the fulfilment of the dream towards self-development and self-determination lies in our hands.
"Through the AARTO Mobile Offices, motorists will not only track their traffic fines status but will also manage their fines on a continuous basis.
"The Road Traffic Infringement Agency has conceptualised the Enterprise Development programme, which seeks to bring service delivery to people at the most localised level and through mobile Units such as these the following services will be rendered:
• Public queries on AARTO infringement notices,
• Assisting in administering AARTO representation and uploading to the RTIA for adjudication.
• AARTO payment facilitation, and
• AARTO and road safety awareness campaigns
Peters said: "The launch of the AARTO Mobile Offices programme in Kliptown seeks to leave a lasting legacy to the way the services are rendered to the people of this community. Today’s programme has also been put in place in partnership with the existing Driver Licence Testing Centre (DLTC) here at the Walter Sisulu Square.
"The management and staff of the centre and the Kliptown community are really honoured to be among the first recipients of this important service, and it is our hope that levels of compliance will increase as more motorists come in to enquire about the status of their traffic fines and to ensure that they are attended to until finalisation.
"The AARTO Mobile Offices will then travel to different road user communities around the country and municipalities, including other DLTCs, taxi ranks, shopping malls, and filling stations. The programme is part of RTIA’s concerted public awareness programme to increase AARTO visibility thereby calling upon South Africans to comply with the law applicable on our road network.
"With the RTIA Mobile Offices now getting ready to reach all corners of our country, no motorists should find themselves with traffic fines that are not attended or paid up. The AARTO Mobile Office provides us with different platforms to check our traffic fine status. AARTO services are brought to your doorstep in the form of these Mobile Offices, there is an RTIA office phone number you can call, RTIA share-cost call centre number (0861 122 7861), RTIA fax number, RTIA website, RTIA email address, RTIA twitter handle, and the RTIA Facebook page. All the platforms are either delivered to you physically or just on the click of a button."