Aarto to cost firms millions

2010-11-14 11:27

Pretoria – A national fleet manager of a retail furniture group has to budget an extra R1.2m just that his company can check truck drivers’ demerit points once every month.

This is only one of the additional expenses that he faces when the controversial Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences) traffic act comes into force next year.

It includes a demerit system, according to which managers, vehicles and operators can receive a maximum of 12 demerits before their licences or operator cards are suspended.

The retail group, whose name is being withheld at its request, has already spent about R2m on systems to be prepared for Aarto, said the fleet manager at the meeting held by the Aarto action group in Johannesburg on Monday.

Business people from the retail, tourism, motor and cargo industries, as well as bus operators attending the meeting, expressed their concern about the potentially destructive effect of the Aarto legislation on businesses and the country’s economy as a whole.

Those attending together represented a fleet of some 1.2m vehicles.

The action group, led by the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce & Industry, has already started drawing up a comprehensive brief for Jeremy Gauntlett SC and advocate Frank Pelser to try and block the Aarto Act in court.

Ian Moss, the transport attorney who is preparing the initial papers, told the meeting that one of the problems with Aarto was that a business had to pay to get basic information that it needed to comply with the act, as well as to exercise its rights.

For instance, if an employer wanted to look up his workers’ demerit points to avoid putting someone whose driver’s licence has been suspended behind the wheel, it would cost him R60 per enquiry. It is to this that the fleet manager referred and why he needed to budget R1.2m for his workforce of 1 600 drivers.

To check the demerits once a month would in any event be insufficient as the employee might, in the two weeks that it would take to get hold of the information, receive more demerits.

Should a business not know who was driving the vehicle at the time of the offence or know who it was but be without a copy of the driver’s identity document, the business could be fined R750 and receive two demerits.

In addition, the specific director could be criminally prosecuted. Should he be found guilty, he could receive a two-year prison sentence and/or a fine of R20 000 for neglecting to exercise proper control over his vehicle and driver.

If a fine is not paid within 32 days, a second notice will be sent to the alleged offender – at a  cost of R60.

Someone who is fined can make representation, which will be considered not by a trained prosecutor but by a representation officer.

Should the officer reject it, the alleged offender will have to pay R200.

Moss says with someone’s driver’s licence being at stake, businesses and professional drivers will no longer be able to afford to pay the fine – with a 50% discount – within the 32 days, because it will carry demerits.

Consequently every fine will need to be contested at great expense in court.

- Sake24

  • Malose Mothabela - 2010-11-14 12:27

    Thsi is going to increase the cost of doing business in South Africa. It also add another burden of responibility for management.Why must business be affected because some politicians decided to implement their counter productive thinking.

  • Nick - 2010-11-14 12:30

    Great, another way to fleece the citizens of this country.

  • Greg - 2010-11-14 12:37

    Just don't break the laws of the road full stop. The authorities must ensure that this act is applied to every single licensed road user, do not be selective.

  • NewSA - 2010-11-14 12:37

    So who is going to do all the admin behind this new system? The ANC government cant give basic services without corruption and steeling and now they think they can do this. Hehehehehe good luck

  • Graham - 2010-11-14 12:52

    I dont say that traffic officials should not do their jobs but do it correct and without bribery. This new system is just a means of further bancrupting this country, so there is more for the govt officials to stea. I believe it is their aim to bring this country to it's knees, and once completed like the rest of Africa there will be nothing left to steal.

  • Jay - 2010-11-14 12:58

    Ok thats all fair and well but who is going to monitor the Taxis????????

  • TheOne - 2010-11-14 12:59

    This is complete madness. I agree with demerit systems because it may stop TAXIs abusing the roads, but not like this. It seems that when the ANC does something, it goes comletely beyond the realms of fairness. It goes beserk in the search of stupidity.

  • talk2jad - 2010-11-14 13:00

    tough...stick to the rules of the road your drivers should be fine. Stop moaning because you hire irresponsible and/or reckless drivers and your vehicles are more unroadworthy than taxis.

  • Hans Iken - 2010-11-14 13:05

    I wonder if it is constitutional to punish a business for an offence it could not prevent or know about.If, as in the example given, the business shows Due diligence by checking the drivers' status and the information provided by the government is flawed (dated) and this leads to the business being fined or getting demerits I very much doubt this would hold up in court. This could all easily be prevented by putting the responsability of information on the government, i.e. all professional drivers must be recorded as well as their employers. Should a drivers' license be suspended the onus to inform the employers should lie primarily on the driver and secondarily on the government. This would reduce the immense cost as well as prevent an untenable legal position for the government.

  • ArriveAlive - 2010-11-14 13:18

    It's quite simple really, don't break the law! This must be the only country in the world where people are allowed to whinge about the consequences of their own actions. Drivers who break the rules of the road cost people their lives.

  • Me - 2010-11-14 13:27

    I can understand the resistance but I work in the middle east - Qatar and this is the way here. All cars and trucks must also go for yearly checks which just make your roads saver. I run a vehicle fleet of 450 vehicles. If the vehicle is registered to the company you just enter the company number on the government web page and it provide you all the fines and all the points for the entire vehicle fleet. A company who do not know who the driver is - must rather look at there management strategy and implement a system where you know who is driving your vehicles. We also have cameras at our robots and if you skip the robot the traffic violation will cost you R12000 AND 7 points. If you don't pay it you can not re register your car every year. I am used to a better system here and can not see why SA can not implement this as well. It will only make the roads safer and create more responsible drivers for the future.

  • stormeskye - 2010-11-14 14:02

    Thank goodness I am now living in Europe. Why penalise businesses? The responsibility should lie with the driver and the government – not business! We all know how flawed the South African government departments are. This will just be another reason for many smaller businesses to close shop or lay off employees! It would seem that desperate need to find money by the government knows no bounds. My deepest sympathy with any business in SA trying to stay afloat.

  • tbone - 2010-11-14 15:36

    Imagine how the metro cops are smiling. The charge of briberies will be going through the roof because now the metros have a much bigger carrot to dangle in front of offenders and if they are on the verge of loosing their license, I would pay a lot not to get more points. If i cant go to work and loose my job, imagine how much i would pay to keep it!

  • Collitjies - 2010-11-14 15:39

    Yet another way to increase the cost of bribes, could you imagine a taxi operator paying bribes of R1000.00 or more to stay on the road.This system unless run properly will not decrease the road death toll.

  • M - 2010-11-14 15:47

    And that is just one company out of how many thousands. Do the maths - it could add up to several billion rands a year. Of course, these costs will be passed onto the consumer. Last month our esteemed minister of finance said there were no additional taxes or tax increases in the pipeline. Like I said on this forum at the time, how stupid does he think we are? And that is not even taking into the new tolling system and how much extra that is going to cost business and the man in the street.

  • Michael - 2010-11-15 06:29

    Where are the tenders for this AARTO system. ENaTIS driver info is so bad that the system will fail before it starts. They still owe R62mil for postage for last trial run. The AARTO idea is good but the implimentation is a non starter. If stopped by a officer for an offence then the bribery would increase as one would not want to loose ones licence. People will fill the courts to challange the fines so as not to get license suspended. In a few months the courts will be backed up for years. The Municipalities will stop producing fines as they will not be getting funds as expected. Then the lawlessness on roads will increase.

  • George - 2010-11-15 06:55

    I just love it, maybe we wont be seeing anymore Taxis on our roads.

  • Gatvol - 2010-11-15 07:04

    It will give those sneaky Metro cops greater power to extort bribes... imagine you loose your licence because of a corrupt "Treffic" official All there illegal speed traps and blatant lying will cost YOU .. never mind the fact that you are not breaking the law ...

  • Themba - 2010-11-15 07:40

    I think many of you do not understand the point of the article. The complaint is not that companies want unfit drivers to be allowed to drive. Far from it, these companies want it to be easier for them to get updated information about their drivers. Solution would be a system that updates not only the driver, but also their registered company that a fine has been incurred and that demerit points were applied. The system should not only update about the individual fine, but should inform companies of the status of their drivers as and when a fine is incurred. Companies can pay a once off administrative cost per driver until the driver is no longer in their payroll. Agree with Graham that the major problem with the system is consistent application of the law, but offering a bribe is as deplorable as receiving one and both parties should be jailed for a long time. No use in blaming Metro Police for ccepting bribes, and then offer such under the excuse that you had no choice

  • Steven - 2010-11-15 08:17

    I am all for systems and processes aimed at making our roads safer. My problem is the administration of said systems and processes. Our "officials" have proven that they cannot run systems. Look at the billing system for the City of Johannesburg. They make mistakes and we have to pay to get them rectified.

  • Robin - 2010-11-16 08:22

    The solution to the problem businesses see is quite simple - make sure your drivers do not break the law, and make them responsible for any payment penalties and legal costs as a result of their transgressions of the law. This way drivers will learn to be responsible, and we will all enjoy the benefits of safe and pleasant driving on our roads. I reckon the main opponents of the system are those who are likely to knowingly break the law the most. Break the law - pay the price, simple!

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