Transport Minister welcomes PRASA War Room progress; Aarto ruling

Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga outlines the spate of vandalism of trucks and how the department is mitigating this.

20th July 2023

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online


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The Department of Transport is pleased with the progress the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) is making through a War Room that is meant to coordinate the recovery efforts of various corridors and accelerate infrastructure rollout, improve security and give momentum to the modernisation programme.

This was noted by Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga on July 20, during an update on the department’s first-quarter performance. The update followed a visit by the department to the War Room.

Chikunga emphasised that the War Room was an integral part of accelerating service delivery interventions and to ensure the department achieves the targets it set out in the Medium-Term Strategic Framework in 2019.

“We are pleased with the progress PRASA is making, and through this War Room, we will accelerate the pace of our interventions so that we restore services in the corridors we have prioritised for recovery this financial year and deploy the new trains,” she highlighted.

On July 12, the Constitutional Court handed down a judgment on the constitutionality of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act, which Chikunga asserted confirmed that the law was Constitutional and that no aspect of it encroached on the executive powers of other spheres of government.

“We welcome this judgment, as it provides clarity on the mandate of the national government to determine and enforce norms and standards that apply uniformly across the country. A fragmented system of adjudicating road traffic offences based on the whims of individual provinces would undoubtedly result in chaos and render road traffic law enforcement interventions ineffective,” Chikunga emphasised.

She outlined the importance of the Aarto Act as part of road traffic law enforcement interventions aimed at mitigating danger on roads and altering driver behaviour.

Chikunga said it would reinforce other interventions such as classifying traffic policing as a 24-hour, seven-day job, alongside the regulation of driving schools and introduction of a National Qualifications Framework Level 6 training for traffic law enforcement officers.

“The implementation of this law across the country has been pending for 25 years, with pilots in place in the cities of Johannesburg and Tshwane. With this judgment having cleared the path for the implementation of Aarto, we will move with speed to roll out its implementation across the country without delay,” she said.

Chikunga informed that the department has engaged with the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) to assess the state of readiness for accelerated rollout of Aarto across all municipalities in the country.

“We are pleased that the progress we had made on the eve of the constitutional challenge enables us to target July 1, 2024 for the nationwide rollout of Aarto. We have already established 43 service outlets across various provinces,” Chikunga informed.

She added that the department had completed requisite processes to implement the Aarto adjudication process, as well as the electronic service of infringements. The latter will come into effect as soon as the President proclaims the Aarto Amendment Act.

Further, the department is ready to finalise its recommendations to the President for the appointment of a tribunal and the proclamation of implementation of the Aarto Act nationwide, as well as the promulgation of the Aarto Amendment Act.

It has also completed the process of drafting regulations and has consulted with the Minister of Justice and all relevant members of the executive council (MECs).

“We are finalising the matter of concurrence by MECs and have received concurrence from the vast majority of provinces. This is a matter we intend to put to bed at the upcoming meeting of the shareholders committee, made up of MECs responsible for Transport and traffic matters,” Chikunga said.

She mentioned that the department would also move swiftly with the implementation of the points demerit system, a cornerstone of the Aarto Act, intended to act as a deterrent for wayward motorist behaviour on roads.

“As we proceed with the national rollout of Aarto, we will proclaim implementation in 69 municipalities by the end of this calendar year. Aarto will kick-in in the remaining municipalities by July 1, 2024.

“We are working closely with the Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs in ensuring that all municipalities have the requisite capacity to implement the law,” Chikunga informed.

Chikunga also indicated that the cause of the explosion in the Johannesburg central business district on July 19 had yet to be identified. The suspected underground gas explosion caused considerable damage to Bree street, surrounding infrastructure and vehicles, and investigations are still underway.

She said the department would engage with the South African National Taxi Council to gauge the full extent of damage to the taxi industry, and to see how the department can assist with mitigating this. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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