This could very well become a reality should amendments to the Administrative Adjunction of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act be adopted by Parliament.
The Aarto Bill has already been passed in the National Assembly and is currently being considered by members of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
According to Rudie Heyneke, portfolio manager for transport at lobby group Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), among some of the key amendments is a proposal that e-toll signs at gantries be adhered to like other road traffic signs.
READ MORE: How Gauteng motorists have crippled Sanral
Regulation currently stipulates that drivers who fall foul of road sign rules be punished with a R500 fine. In addition, motorists will also have one demerit point docked for every offence committed.
“Imagine driving from Pretoria to Johannesburg and you pass five gantries on a return trip, which is already 10 demerit points. If you drive that road twice in one week, your license could be suspended,” he said in an interview with The Star.
Public hearings around the suggested changes have already been held in six provinces and after consultation with the remaining provinces, the Aarto Amendment Bill will be tabled and debated at the NCOP and potentially be passed.
Tens of thousands of Gauteng motorists remain committed to a civil disobedience campaign, as frustrated residents seek to have the unpopular system scrapped altogether.
At last count, the SA National Roads Agency Limited’s (Sanral) lost a whopping R3,6 billion in revenue from outstanding e-toll fees during the past financial year, with no signs of the driver rebellion ceasing anytime soon.
Just this week, Gauteng Premier David Makhura conceded that the e-tolling system in the province had failed spectacularly, saying he was engaging with President Cyril Ramaphosa to come up with a more sustainable way to raise money for the upkeep of Gauteng highways.
While the issue remains in limbo, Justice Project South Africa Chairman Howard Dembovsky says it’s likely that provisions within the existing Aarto Act as well as the Bill will fail to pass constitutional muster.
Here are two of the key amendments to the Aarto Bill:
- Before where an alleged infringer who believed they weren’t guilty of the offence would have the option to have the matter tried in court, changes will mean that motorists will only be able to make written submissions to the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA). Should your submissions fail, the matter can be taken on appeal with the Tribunal, but it must be lodged within 30 days of the traffic infringement.
- Fines will no longer be issued via post and will be sent electronically to your inbox so the onus rests on drivers to check for fine notifications.