Easter weekend: Aarto’s demerit system still in place for motorists
The demerit system could see motorists being blocked from renewing their driver's licence
Law enforcement agencies at the launch of Easter holidays road campaign at N3 Heidelberg Weighbridge, 31 March 2021, in anticipation of increased traffic volumes. Picture: Nigel Sibanda
The points-based demerit system can still be enforced on motorists who will be travelling to different destinations for the Easter holidays.
The demerit system is one of the keystones of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto).
During a media briefing on Tuesday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said South Africa’s national roads will carry millions of motorists for the Easter season, in what he described as “one of the greatest movements of people over a single long weekend”.
“Many of these travellers will be worshippers making their way to various places of pilgrimage.
“The desire to travel is high among this group, considering the Covid-19 restrictions on travel and religious gatherings over the last two years, which have since been relaxed with the lifting of the state of disaster,” he said.
Mbalula said that the busiest routes this time of the year were the N1 from Gauteng to Limpopo, the N3 from Gauteng to KwaZulu-Natal, the N2 from the Western Cape to Eastern Cape, the N14 to from Gauteng to the North-West and the N12.
Due to road deaths being on an upward trajectory this year, the minister said the Department of Transport would deploy law enforcement officers drawn from the South African Police Service (Saps), the National Traffic Police, provincial traffic officers and municipal traffic officers.
He added that law enforcement’s focus will be on the use of safety belts, the roadworthiness of vehicles, fatigue, drunk driving, pedestrian safety and dangerous driving which includes speeding, recklessness and overtaking on barrier lines.
This means that the demerit system will see motorists being blocked from renewing their driver’s licences for repeatedly breaking the rules of the road.
This is despite the Aarto and its amendment act being declared unconstitutional and invalid earlier this year.
Outa had asked the court to declare both acts unconstitutional, which was opposed by Mbalula and the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA).
In the judgement, Judge Annali Basson ruled that both acts “must be declared to be inconsistent with the Constitution in its entirety”.
Basson also ordered the minister and the RTIA to pay the organisation’s costs, including the costs of two counsels.
While Mbalula has since indicated that the Department of Transport will appeal the judgement, Outa has already approached the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) for the ruling to be confirmed in terms of section 172(2)(d) of the Constitution.
The matter is yet to be heard in the ConCourt.
Meanwhile, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has confirmed the deaths of four people who were travelling to Mpumalanga in the early hours of Friday.
“Traffic is slowly picking up on all the routes this morning. Yesterday, we had a fairly uneventful day in the peak travelling periods… people were well behaved and there were no major incidents.
“But we are waking up to the news that four people have died and nine were injured when two mini-buses collided on the N17 between Leandra and Kinross, Mpumalanga,” RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane told eNCA.
One motorist, Zwane said, was arrested for speeding at 260 kilometres per hour in Mokopane, Limpopo.