The Automobile Association (AA) of South Africa are seeking to add an infringement penalty levy or “stealth tax” to the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act.
According to a recently published draft regulation for the Aarto Act, the penalty is expected to be R100 and will apply to any fees payable for an infringement by a motorist.
What this means is, regardless of whether the fine, or it’s associated demerit points, is R100 or R2 000 an additional penalty “tax” of R100 will be added to the infringement.
This has been compared to to SA Revenue Service (SARS) charging every taxpayer a fee to submit their tax return.
A windfall for the AA
The AA estimated that, based on 20-million annual infringements, they would received a windfall of around R2-billion from the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA).
Motorists will also be required to pay R240 to inquire about the status of their demerit points.
There have been no provisions made for motorists to check their points online which makes the system complicated and cumbersome.
All revenue collected from the fines will be split 50:50 between the RTIA and the relevant issuing authority, while SAPS do not receive anything.
For motorists who are unable to afford the fine, a payment arrangement cam be made over a maximum of 10 months and any discounts are lost.
While a 50% discount will be offered on fines paid within 28 days, should the fine be contested or paid late, additional fees will be added. A courtesy reminder letter charge will cost R100 and an enforcement order confirming the fine and demerits will also cost R100.
50 Years in the planning
The AA called for a demerit point system to be implemented more than 50 years ago as based on evidence from other countries, the system can be effective in making the roads safer.
Aarto is however aimed more at revenue collection than curbing road fatalities and creating a safer drving environment in the country.
The deadline for the formal submission from the AA is November 10.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula says the new demerit system was signed into law by president Cyril Ramaphosa in August 2019 and will be fully operational by June 2020.
What you can expect with the Aarto Act
Justice Project South Africa’s Howard Dembovsky explained that motorists will be allowed to incur up to 12 demerit points before facing a licence suspension.
For each point over 12, the drivers licence will be suspended. In other words, if you have 13 points your licence, operator card or road transport permit will be suspended for three months. If you acquire 15 demerit points, it will result in a nine month suspension.
It is suspected that the points and fines may change as the system is implemented, but currently the RTIA have set out the following:
- Driving an unregistered vehicle R500 or 1 demerit.
- Driving an unlicensed vehicle R500 or 1 demerit.
- Driving a vehicle without a visible licence place R500 or 1 demerit.
- Driving without a seat belt R250 or 0 demerits.
- Driving without a drivers licence R1 250 or 4 demerits.
- Driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance – the fine will be determined by court and 6 demerit points apply.
- Jumping a red light R500 or 1 demerit.
- Overtaking on a barrier line R500 or 1 demerit.
- Speeding 81-85km/h in a 60km/h zone R750 or 2 demerits.
- Speeding 131-135km/h in a 100km/h zome R1 250 or 4 demerits.
For more information on other demerits and objectives, please check out Arrive Alive
Civil society group Outa told media that during consultations between the national and provincial legislatures regarding the Aarto Amendment Bill, the draft regulations consisted of over a hundred pages and new provisions which had created an administrative nightmare for both officials and motorists.
The original version of regulations was 23 pages while the updated version is 37 pages, making it cumbersome for officials who are required to implement the regulations.
The latest version of the schedule states that fleet operators will receive infringements on fleet vehicles and may submit the drivers details to the issuing authority. If the full drivers details are not received the demerits will return to the operators.
Outa says that the process between receiving an infringement notice and challenging it successfully is so complex that they expect motorists to give up.