Lobby groups and industry experts have appealed to President Cyril Ramaphosa not to sign off on the controversial Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Bill.

This comes after Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Transport accepted the final amendments to the bill on Tuesday bringing the bill one step closer to becoming a law. What this means is that the bill will now go to the National Assembly for concurrence and will then be ready to be signed into law by President Ramaphosa.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), together with several stakeholders in the transport industry, taxi associations and various political parties has opposed the Amendment Bill from the introduction of the Bill in the National Assembly on 1 December 2015 by the Minister of Transport.

Demerit point system irrational        

Outa submitted comprehensive comments to the parliamentary committee on the Bill; however, the organisation says some of its key criticisms were not factored into the amended version.

“It will be interesting to see if the President will sign the Aarto Amendment Bill into law before the national and provincial elections on 8 May 2019 as it may sway votes,” explains Outa’s Transport Portfolio Manager, Rudie Heyneke.

The demerit point system was heavily criticized by the transport and fleet industries because of the possibility of losing their drivers licences which will negatively impact SA’s already high unemployment rate.

Road safety over revenue generation

In addition to public outrage on the amendments, metro officials from TMPD and JMPD along with fleet owners and taxi associations supported Outa’s stance that the Bill should promote road safety rather than focusing on creating revenue.

“We once again request that the President and his advisors take a good look at the Bill as well as the submissions from the public before signing off on a Bill that will have a detrimental impact on our economy,” added Heyneke.

“The Aarto Amendment Bill is as unworkable as the irrational e-tolls scheme and we will do everything in our power to protect the constitutional rights of road users,” Heyneke concludes.