Taxi drivers march against demerit system

Pretoria commuters will be without transport on Wednesday as taxi associations march in the city against the implementation of the traffic demerit system, the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) said on Wednesday.

“About 40 taxi associations in Pretoria will march in protest [against] the administrative adjudication of road traffic offences (AARTO) system,” Santaco spokesperson Thabisho Molelekwa said.

The AARTO system is a point demerit system in which motorists will be penalised or lose their driver’s licences when they commit traffic offences.

All drivers will start on 12 points and will lose their licences once the points are exhausted.

The associations will march from Marabastad to the national department of transport and the department of justice offices in the Pretoria CBD where they will hand over a memorandum.

Although it understood the transport department’s intentions of using the new system was to reduce road deaths, Santaco said the system would have a negative effect on the taxi industry.

“The industry has raised concern over AARTO that in its current form it will not work. We are saying there are probably other means to deal with the carnage on our road[s],” said Molelekwa.

The association said that it had not been consulted about the new system.

He said commuters were given notice to make their own transport arrangements during the one-day strike.

March over credit Act
Meanwhile, taxi drivers in Johannesburg were set to march to the SA Taxi Finance institution on Wednesday, which it accuses of failing to comply with the National Credit Act.

National Taxi Alliance general secretary Alpheus Mlalazi said SA Taxi Finance charged “exorbitant” interest rates of 30% and “arbitrarily” repossessed vehicles, “disregarding due processes as prescribed by the law”.

“SA Taxi Finance has not been complying with the National Credit Act,” he said ahead of the march in Dunkeld West.

Mlalazi said several meetings had been held with the institution in attempts to address taxi operators’ concerns.

“They [SA Taxi Finance] make promises but don’t keep them,” said Mlalazi.

Johannesburg metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said the march would start at Wyndham Park at 10am.

Protesters would march down Kent road, turn left into Northumberland avenue, left in Hume road, and left into Jan Smuts Avenue.

The march would end at the SA Taxi Finance office in Bompas Avenue. – Sapa

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