COSATU welcomes the President’s signing of the Aarto Act into law

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) notes the President’s signing the Aarto Amendment Act into law.  The Federation supports the progressive objectives of the Aarto Amendment Act. 

On average 14 000, South Africans die every year on our roads, mostly due to reckless driving. This is devastating not only to those families who have lost their loved ones but also to an economy desperate for growth. 

It is a massive drain on workers’ wages and the economy through the expensive fuel levy that funds the Road Accident Fund.  The RAF itself has a deficit of more than R149 billion.

The Aarto Amendment Act is tough.  It is draconian.  Drivers will have to change their reckless behaviour drastically or face the risk and consequences of having their driving licenses suspended.  But that is a small price to pay when compared to what 14 000 families go through every year when having to bury their children, husbands and wives. 

COSATU is amazed and dismayed at the criticisms raised by Outa and the AA against the Act.  The existing laws are clearly not sufficient and drastic action is needed.  There is nothing unconstitutional about the Act.  Drunken driving, excessive speeding, driving on the side of a road, overloading unroadworthy vehicles are not constitutional rights. 

Whilst the Amendment Act is not a magic wand and cannot stop someone driving through a red light, if it is able to reduce the carnage on our roads by 10%, that will mean 1400 lives will have been saved.

What is needed now is for the Department of Transport to ensure the Act’s speedy implementation, the employment and training of more traffic police, cracking down on corrupt elements in the traffic departments and engaging in a mass public education programme.

For further information please contact: Matthew Parks

COSATU Parliamentary Coordinator

Cell: 082 785 0687