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EC prepares for rollout of driving demerit system

The Eastern Cape will be ready to handle any enactment of the controversial administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) bill.
That’s according to the provincial transport department after it received the results of a survey conducted by the Road Traffic Infringement Authority (RTIA).
The bill, accepted by parliament’s transport portfolio committee in February, proposes a new licensing demerit system whereby motorists accumulate points per transgression. A total of 12 demerit points will see a driver’s licence suspended for three months.
If the bill is signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa, it will also mean that the option for drivers to appeal a fine or points in court will be removed.
Stakeholders in the Eastern Cape have expressed reservations about the bill, and are particularly vocal about how Aarto will be policed and whether licensing centres in the province will be equipped to handle the new system.
But provincial transport department spokesperson Unathi Binqose is confident after the recent RTIA survey of 32 of the 34 licence issuing authorities in the Eastern Cape.
It showed that the province is 91% ready with IT equipment such as eNatis and 72% ready with connectivity.
Binqose said stationery procurement countrywide would be done by Government Printing Works (GPW) six months before roll-out.
“Refresher training of back office staff and traffic officers will also be conducted close to the rollout period.
“The province will be 100% ready come the date of the roll-out as a period of six months will be given after the date of proclamation by the president to ensure all provinces are ready,” he said.
However, a response to BCM spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya by BCM traffic commander Quinton Chetty paints a slightly different picture.
Ngwenya forwarded the response to the Dispatch following a query last week.
“This matter was discussed at the national road safety steering committee meeting held in Johannesburg last week. According to a presentation by RTIA operations manager Peter Baloyi, the Aarto bill has not yet been implemented the response said.
“A readiness assessment has been conducted in the Eastern Cape and it was concluded that the province is not yet ready to implement Aarto,” it added...

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