DA calls on MEC to address real challenges before rolling out Aarto in KZN
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DURBAN - The DA in KwaZulu-Natal has called on the Department of Transport (DoT) to fix issues at licence offices before implementing the controversial Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) system.
Speaking during a provincial executive council meeting on Wednesday, Premier Sihle Zikalala said at least five municipalities in the province were ready to roll out the driving demerit system.
“The executive council noted that the municipalities of eThekwini, Msunduzi, uMhlathuze, Newcastle, Ray Nkonyeni, Alfred Duma and KwaDukuza have been identified as ready to implement the Aarto system,” he said.
DA spokesperson on Transport in KZN, Sharon Hoosen said while they welcome initiatives aimed at encouraging safe driving, the department had not properly thought out the process.
“How can they possibly begin implementing Aarto when there is still such a vehicle and drivers licence backlog? Licensing has been a problem in KZN for several years, which has only increased as a result of Covid-19, yet the department does not seem to be able to provide solutions.
“At this point, KZN’s Driver Licence Training Centres are unable to cope and are either closing their doors due to positive Covid-19 cases or are simply unable to attend to the massive queues,” Hoosen said.
She said not only has this caused immense frustration on KZN’s road users, it has also led to more and more law-abiding citizens driving without the relevant licences.
Hoosen said the DA has long called for the implementation of an online renewal system for vehicle and drivers licences in an attempt to alleviate the situation.
“Yet, to date, such a system remains in the pipeline. We will be addressing this matter again with MEC Nkonyeni and will put pressure on her and her department to fast-track this system as a matter of extreme urgency.”
Hoosen said if Aarto is to have any chance of success in the province – and reduce the number of fatalities on the roads – then the DoT must first focus on addressing licensing backlogs.
If this is not done, the system is doomed to fail.
Aarto is a demerit system that will penalise drivers found guilty of traffic offences or any infringements. Demerit points could lead to a suspension or cancellation of licences, operator cards or professional driving permits.
All drivers start with zero points. When the point limit is exceeded, a motorist’s driver’s licence will be suspended for three months. If the person drives with a suspended licence, they could be fined or imprisoned.
Once a motorist’s driver’s licence is suspended three times, they will have to start all over again – by getting a new learner’s licence.