The bill, which can be read in full here, was signed on Tuesday and will begin being implementation once the law has been gazetted with a commencement date.
It will result in the setting up of a demerit system for drivers, who lose points for traffic offences, which may result in the loss of a driving licence.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has said they would legally challenge the new bill.
Outa has been against the bill from the start, saying in February that although they were in support of the ultimate goal of enhancing road safety, they did not support the Aarto Bill “as it stands” because it presented far too many flaws and loopholes.
Outa’s transport expert Rudie Heyneke said “we believe that this Bill will not pass constitutional scrutiny and therefore it is crucial that the president and his advisors will also take into account all submissions made by major roleplayers in the transport industry”.
“South Africa needs good, solid, unchallengeable traffic management legislation to reduce traffic violations and to enhance road safety.
“In South Africa, many people have a pathetic attitude towards traffic violations. There are too many fatalities on our roads because of people violating traffic laws and who is driving with unroadworthy vehicles. If we want to achieve positive results, we need Aarto to work 100%.
“This can only be achieved if all irrational and flawed sections are challenged and result in a streamlined Act that will ensure safer roads in SA where the law can be enforced with unchallengeable legislation behind it.”
Other opposition to the bill has come from the SA Automobile Association (AA), which has said the bill is flawed in its current form and won’t make SA roads any safer, and Justice Project SA, which said the new system would “make it difficult for anyone accused to prove their innocence”.
The bill was introduced to parliament in December 2015 by then transport minister Dipuo Peters. It passed through many processes before minor amendments made by the National Council of Provinces (NCoP) and was sent back to the National Assembly for debate, resulting in the bill being approved by parliament’s portfolio committee on transport in February.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)