Transport minister Sibusiso Ndebele has welcomed Congress of South African Trade Union’s (Cosatu) stand on the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act.
This comes after taxi drivers marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria earlier this month in protest against the Act. The march was organised by South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu).
However, Cosatu, in its central executive committee (CEC) statement, said it supports measures that will end the carnage on roads by “punishing offenders and ending the culture of impunity”.
Aarto will see the allocation of demerit points to traffic law infringers. It is set to be introduced on a national basis from 1 April 2011. Pilot projects are currently being run in the municipalities of Tshwane and Johannesburg.
“We welcome the stand taken by Cosatu on Aarto. The Department of Transport has long been engaging and will continue to engage with all stakeholders regarding the implementation of Aarto,” said Ndebele.
“As government, we welcome partnerships with various formations, including organised labour, business, the religious community and civil society to end the carnage on our roads.”
However, in its statement, Cosatu also said workers should not be punished for the non-roadworthiness of the vehicles that do not belong to them. “The demerit system must punish owners and not workers.”
The union added that Satawu appealed for support for its campaign against Aarto, especially its impact on truck, bus and taxi drivers who face the possibility of losing their licences, and therefore their jobs under the provisions of the demerit system.
It explained that many employers impose time limits on journeys, which can only be met by speeding.
“The CEC expressed support for Satawu, but decided to unpack the provisions of the new Act, some of which seek to crack down on speeding and the use of unroadworthy vehicles, and streamline the collection of fines, which aim to reduce the number of accidents and save lives.”
Cosatu also said it welcomes the postponement of the implementation of Aarto until all legitimate concerns have been addressed.
With the Aarto system, drivers lose points when they commit traffic offences and this will be reflected on the National Contravention Register on eNatis.
All drivers have 12 points to start with, and lose a certain amount of them depending on the severity of the offence. This could eventually lead to the suspension of one’s licence. However, points can also be earned through good behaviour.
The Department of Transport postponed the implementation of the Act due to problems encountered with the pilot systems.
In response to a Parliamentary question, Ndebele said the allocation of demerit points to infringers will be introduced on a national basis from 1 April 2011.
Aarto manager, the Road Traffic Management Corporation, previously said it would spend over R300 million on IT and marketing for the new demerit system for motorists.
[Story by Farzana Rasool appeared on ITWeb.co.za]