The Department of Transport (DoT) says there will be no further extensions for driving licence renewals to deal with the COVID-19 imposed backlog.
Thursday, March 31, 2022, marks the last day of the grace period the department has given citizens to renew their licences.
Many motorists are expected to try to meet the deadline or apply for temporary licences.
Transport Department spokesperson Collin Msibi says, “There is a backlog. The country has about 12 million licences, so the backlog we are currently having is 1.4 million. We were projecting that by the end of the month it will be about 2 million. Those that have applied when we had glitches between November and January will have their licences by the end of April.”
The clock is ticking for motorists with expired licences:
The DoT says it aims to produce 400 000 licences per month to deal with the backlog.
Msibi says, “They must also keep their receipts, and your old driver’s licence cards as proof that you have your licence, we cannot continue to postpone despite threats from civil society to take legal action should there be no further extensions.”
Gauteng Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo says, “We have given all the necessary avenues over time. I would like to calm all drivers’ licence holders; you have an online booking system and an android system. We are not worried about the issue of extensions, we are worried about the large number of people not honouring their bookings and they do not show up.”
Those who already applied should be in possession of a receipt as proof of their application for a renewal of their driving licences.
REPORT: DoT clearing the current backlog of printing driving licence cards
Meanwhile, civil society and other motoring bodies have appealed to government to extend the deadline for those who still have not renewed their licence.
The Automobile Association (AA) has asked Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to extend Thursday’s deadline for the renewal of driver licences, saying hundreds of thousands of drivers have still not applied for their new card licences.
The AA’s Layton Beard says, “Given the recent problems with the production of driving licence cards, and issues around Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs) and online booking systems, we believe it’s unrealistic to expect that this enormous backlog will be cleared by tomorrow (Thursday -March 31); this leaves hundreds of thousands of drivers without the necessary documents to be on the road legally. Unless traffic law enforcement understands these issues and finds a suitable way of addressing them, we may find a massive spike in the number of traffic fines issued to motorists in the next couple of weeks and months.”
Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has called on the minister to extend the validity period of drivers’ licence cards from five to ten years.
Motorists are raising concerns over millions of drivers’ licences that are continuing to expire.
OUTA’s CEO Wayne Duvenage says, “We’ve suggested a few things. The first is we have done research, met with the minister a few weeks ago and presented it to him regarding extending the validity period from 5 to 10 years. This is the case with many countries around the world and it is very easy to do that. It immediately takes away the problem but government still needs to fix this online booking process, the corruption that takes place, the deficiencies, the costs because we don’t want motorists to find themselves on the wrong side of the law, not on their own doing, but as a result of the state.”
MINISTER MBALULA PROVIDES UPDATE ON LICENCE RENEWALS
The Minister of Transport, Mr. @MbalulaFikile will on Thursday, 31 March 2022 provide an update on the deadline for the Extension of Licence Validity @TrafficRTMC pic.twitter.com/H1WV0IlAmb
— Department of Transport (@Dotransport) March 30, 2022
[Read] The national Department of Transport is well on track with the production of outstanding driving licence cards https://t.co/mxby2SuPfC @Dotransport pic.twitter.com/tDYaE6qs5K
— @SAgovnews (@SAgovnews) March 25, 2022