The Democratic Alliance’s claim that the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) system is failing is misleading, roads agency Sanral said on Wednesday.
The DA said on Wednesday that a report by parliament’s working group on the Aarto Act showed that between the 2012 and 2013 financial years, 89,6% of the required payments had remained unpaid by road users.
DA national spokesman Mmusi Maimane said the total amount unpaid over the two years was R2bn. “The 50% discount applicable to payments made within 32 days is completely ignored and people simply prefer not to pay at all.”
He said the sending of courtesy letters for payment was suspended in July 2012 because of a lack of funds. “The total amount over these two years for the sending out of these letters was more than R30m,” said Maimane.
He said a system similar to that used to notify motorists of their traffic fines would be used when motorists failed to pay their e-toll fees.
However, Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona said this was not true. He said e-toll collection and the enforcement of fines for failing to pay e-tolls were not governed by the Aarto Act, but by the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA).
“The fact is that we will commence tolling by using the CPA as the legislative framework,” said Mona. “We have a process in place which will help us manage non-compliance in terms of e-tolling. Once we have exhausted this process, a summons will be issued under the CPA.”
He said Sanral also intended to erect mobile enforcement units at onramps and offramps, and on tolled roads which would be manned by traffic officers, who would check for outstanding infringements.
The Road Traffic Infringement Agency said Maimane’s statement failed to capture fully the processes it and the municipalities had put in place to address and enhance the Aarto Act.
“The implementation of Aarto in the municipalities of Tshwane and Johannesburg is a strategic decision aimed at piloting it with the specific intention of identifying loopholes and challenges, and be able to put the necessary interventions in place prior to national roll-out,” spokesman Fakazi Malindzisa said in a statement.
He said Aarto was a mechanism aimed at increasing road safety and achieving the over-arching goal of protecting the lives of South African citizens as enshrined in the constitution. “It is more about increasing road safety and changing the behaviour of motorists and the culture of non-compliance to road traffic laws than anything else.” — Sapa