Yip, it’s true… the final amendments for the new AARTO legislation have been made and passed by Parliament’s Portfolio Committee of transport. The bill has gone to the National Assembly and has been passed. All that’s left is for the bill to go to Cyril Ramaphosa for assent and to be signed into law. 

What does this mean for us drivers:

The Demerit System is on it’s way and we’ve been warned. We all thought it would never make it this far and parliament was just trying to put some fear into the South African drivers but clearly, we were very wrong.

Every licensed driver will start off with 0 points and as he/she violates any law they will accumulate points. After the accumulation of more than 12 points, the drivers’ license will be suspended, after the third suspension, your driver’s license will be terminated. Yip, TERMINATED, sounds very “extra”.

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You accrue multiple demerit points in a single incident because the points are awarded per violation and not a period of time. See below the table that shows how points will be “awarded” for each violation:

Demerit system approved MoneyPanda News

Demerit system approved MoneyPanda News


The biggest changes that AARTO will be making to drivers in South Africa are the following:

1. Failure to pay tolls may lead to the suspension and removal of driving licenses and vehicle licenses.

2. In the case of documents previously delivered by registered mail, the authorities will also be able to send documents via e-mail and send reminders via WhatsApp and SMS.

3. The possibility of offenders being able to appear in court to challenge the prosecution will be removed. You will no longer be able to challenge the decision made my police officers.

4. A new system of demerits will be introduced, with 1-6 points for misdemeanors. If the offender has more than 12 points, this will result in the removal of their drivers’ license.

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Will this bill make any difference on the driving habits of South Africans? With all the corruption in South Africa the most likely outcome is to be failure. This may very well just be another avenue for traffic officials to take more brides.

“The Aarto Bill will not have the desired effect of enhanced road safety as we have seen little change in road users behaviour during the Aarto pilot project run in Tshwane and Johannesburg over the past decade,” said Rudie Heyneke, Outa’s transport portfolio manager.

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