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Demerit system for drivers delayed until July 2022

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula confirmed on 1 July that the driver demerit system, which is part of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act, will be implemented in July 2022. Mbalula said Aarto will now be introduced in a phased approach to better prepare the public.

The phased approach is made up of four different stages. Phase 1 is from 1 July 2021 until 30 September 2021, Phase 2 is from 1 October 2021 until 31 Decemeber 2021, Phase 3 is from 1 January 2022 until 30 June 2022, and Phase 4 is from 1 July 2022 - the start date of the demerit system.

Each phase consists of planned rollout strategies for Aarto to come into full effect next year in July.

Phase 1: Establishing seven service outlets; enabling the National Administration Traffic Information System to collect Aarto payments at collecting agents; allowing elective options to be processed in infringement agencies and service outlets, and communication and education awareness campaigns.

Phase 2: Coming online of 67 local and metropolitan municipal areas proclaimed for Aarto roll-out; establishment of more than 18 service outlets; adjudication process coming online in all provinces; and the appeals tribunal coming into full operation.

Phase 3: Inclusion of the 144 remaining local municipal areas proclaimed for Aarto rollout.

Phase 4: Points demerit system goes live; rehabilitation programme coming into effect; and the establishment of 20 Aarto self-service kiosks.

How the demerit system will work:

  • Everyone will start with zero demerit points.
  • Different amounts of demerit points are to be allocated for different infringements (Schedule 3 of the Regulations).
  • A threshold of 15 demerit points will apply before the licence is suspended.
  • A driving licence will be suspended for three months for each demerit point above the threshold.
  • The holder of the licence may not drive during the suspension period and driving while the licence is suspended is a criminal offence.
  • A licence may be suspended only twice.
  • After two suspensions, any demerits above the threshold will result in the licence being cancelled.
  • The holder will have to apply for a learner's licence after the cancellation.

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