Proposed laws and Sanral increases … AA comments
Despite what you might read online, speed limits haven’t changed and trucks cannot be pulled off the road during certain hours – says the Automobile Association (AA), which has advised people not to repeat rumours about new traffic laws without having the facts at hand.
“We are getting several calls a day from concerned motorists over alleged changes to the laws relating to speed limits and operating hours,” the AA says. “It’s evident in all these cases that motorists have misunderstood the difference between ‘law’ and ‘proposal’.”
The AA explains that the minister of transport is entitled to add new regulations to the National Road Traffic Act (NRTA), or change or repeal old ones. This process starts with the Department of Transport (DoT) issuing a proposed amendment for comment, which is published in the Government Gazette. A comment period follows, during which the public can give its input on the proposal.
“Once the comment period has closed, the Department of Transport will consider the comments received from the public and then decide how to proceed,” the Association explains.
The AA says that the latest Facebook frenzy was over speed limits and operating hours for heavy vehicles, originally proposed in 2015. “In the case of the provisions for speed and operating hours, neither has been enacted as law and the status quo remains unchanged. In our opinion, both proposals are without merit, and we made submissions to the Department to that effect,” it adds.
“It would be more productive for people to make submissions to the DoT during the comment period, giving their views on a proposal, than for them to whip up a frenzy on social media when it’s too late,” the AA adds.
“Every proposal is published with contact details, including an email address, so citizens can make their voices heard. We advise people to make use of these opportunities so they can safeguard their rights by opposing some of the questionable regulatory proposals published by the Department,” the Association says.
E-toll tariffs up
The AA has also slammed the increased toll rates announced by the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) last week. The published increases cover tolls across South Africa, including the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), where payment rates remain low.
“Sanral has again missed an opportunity to engage meaningfully with the public on this topic. We warned last year that Sanral must try and win support from the public, but it seems its attitude to motorists remains arrogant and uncaring,” the AA says.
The Association notes that it has long called for toll fees to be replaced with a ring-fenced amount as part of the general fuel levy, so that motorists aren’t paying tax twice for the use of public roads. It is making the call again in light of this year’s adjustments to the fuel levy and tolls.
“We will not be surprised if, given this attitude, and the prevailing economic situation in South Africa, more motorists decide not to pay their tolls. Sanral would do well to remember that it is a service provider to its customers – the motorists of South Africa – and yet its attitude conveys the opposite message,” the AA concludes.
The revised toll tariffs can be found here.