Fikile Mbalula

The law is controversial, but the minister says it’s necessary and that citizens he have told about it are largely enthusiastic.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on Sunday introduced the controversial new bill signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa this past Tuesday.

The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) is a measure to tackle South Africa’s high rate of road accidents and fatalities by way of a demerit system.

But The Citizen reported yesterday that the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) and the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) say the law infringes on drivers’ constitutional rights, would not improve road safety and could be used to force Gauteng motorists to pay e-tolls.

Mbalula, however, has hailed Aarto as “among the interventions to deal a decisive blow to lawlessness on our roads”.

“We have won an important battle, but the war on road fatalities is not yet over. Here is to many victories ahead, as we work together in ensuring safer roads, in this, our beloved South Africa!” he said on Twitter.

Speaking at an event on Sunday morning, Mbalula told an anecdote on why he feels the bill is needed.

“One of the telling stories is there was a taxi that came all the way from Venda in Limpopo, overloaded with about 17 people and some of the overloaded people were women, who were covered with blankets inside the taxi,” he said.

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“This is what law enforcement officers get to see and confront on a daily basis”.

He added that a man who tried to bribe law enforcement officials with R60 rand was recently arrested.

“If you bribe you will face the full wrath of the law,” he said.

While the bill has been slammed by various organisations, Mbalula said citizens who were told about the new law were “smart and welcoming. Our citizens want law enforcement on the roads,” he added.

“It’s just the beginning of things, that [if] you bribe you will be faced by the wrath of the law,” he said.

Mbalula also posted a clip of an official explaining the new system, the specifics of which are also detailed in this article.

The official clarified that the demerit system will not apply to infringements from before the bill was passed.

“Any outstanding infringements that have been issued under the current system will continue as they are, demerit points are not allocated then,” he said.

“But from such a given date that the minister would have determined, on that day, any infringement that you commit you will start the scale afresh,” he added.

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Source: TheCitizen

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