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Amanzimtoti, Verulam drivers licence renewal appointment system fully booked until October, as August deadline looms

INSPECTOR Jannie Kuiper checks drivers licences at a Moloto road block. File Picture: Dudu Zitha.

INSPECTOR Jannie Kuiper checks drivers licences at a Moloto road block. File Picture: Dudu Zitha.

Published Aug 26, 2021


DURBAN: The drivers licence renewal booking system, piloted in Verulam and Amanzimtoti testing centres last year, to streamline the process, has received more than 17 000 bookings, and these centres are fully booked until December and October, 2021, respectively.

Durban Metro Police management decided to pilot the project last year, in the interest of public safety – to prevent the spread of Covid-19, due to the large number of applicants queuing at the centres.

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EThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the project was implemented at the Verulam and Amanzimtoti Driver Licence Testing Centres, adding that the Department of Transport is looking into a national centralised booking system.

He said the department will explore the possibility of increasing the number of bookings.

“The Department of Transport is proposing to roll out a similar system across all centres, and this will assist in alleviating the long waiting periods, as bookings will be available at other centres,” said Mayisela.

The City said it believes that the pilot has been successful.

“From the date of inception on October 12, 2020, a total of 17 652 bookings were made. We have had lots of positive feedback from individuals that have utilised the booking system,”said Mayisela.

With the August 31, 2021, deadline for licence renewals fast approaching, for licenses expired between March 26 and December 31, 2020, and the appointment system currently fully booked, the city said there has to be a balance between individuals that walk-in for service and bookings provided to individuals.

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Individuals have the choice to wait for their bookings or, alternatively, call in at the centres, he said.

“The waiting period for walk-ins will obviously be longer, compared to the 15-20 minutes it takes for those individuals with bookings. It should be noted that the scheduled bookings for Verulam is currently December, 2021, and Amanzimtoti is currently October, 2021,” he said.

Mayisela added that the longer waiting period was due to the unrest backlogs and the extension deadlines for the August 31, 2021, cut-off.

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As the booking system is not electronic, Mayisela said they have not experienced major challenges.

“The major challenge is the number of walk-ins, which compromises the booking system. Also, given the fact that bookings are only available at these centres, results in migration of applicants to these centres, which then contributes to longer waiting period for bookings,” he said.

In a statement Monday, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) called on the Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula to extend the deadline for renewing driving licences.

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OUTA’s chief executive Wayne Duvenage said, with the looming deadline, the government seems to be unmoved by the plight of thousands of motorists, who have been battling to renew their driving licences.

OUTA has received numerous complaints from motorists, highlighting the frustration encountered when attempting to renew a driving licence.

These motorists will be forced to disobey the law if the government is unwilling to grant another extension on the deadline for renewal, said Duvenage, adding that the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) recently acknowledged that there is a significant backlog when it comes to the renewal of driving licences.

“We find it preposterous that the government expects citizens to be law-abiding with driving licences, when the very process they are expected to follow is defunct, ineffective and broken.

“The broken system that the government is relying on has not been addressed since the state introduced an eight-month extension to licence renewal deadlines, and they will have no option but to extend the August 31, 2021, deadline again,” said Duvenage.

The South African Insurance Association (SAIA) has received enquiries from concerned motorists about how insurers would treat motor vehicle claims, where the insured person’s driver’s licence has expired, after this month’s deadline.

“Drivers can take comfort in the fact that an insurer will not automatically reject a claim where a licence has expired. This matter is particularly relevant when there are backlogs or delays in getting appointments at Drivers Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs),” said the association.

It said SAIA follows the recommendations of the Ombudsman for Short-term Insurance (OSTI) which has, since 2007, ruled that insurers should not refuse to entertain the claim if the driver’s licence or licence disc has expired.

“To determine an equitable outcome, the insurer would need to demonstrate prejudice because of the failure to be in possession of a valid licence, therefore, materiality is a critical factor for consideration.

SAIA said, in some cases, after examining the particulars of a claim, an insurer may determine that not having a valid licence was material and, therefore, directly relevant to the claim. In such a case, a claim might be denied.

“SAIA advises the policyholder to pro-actively contact their respective insurer or broker, to make them aware of difficulties being experienced in getting a licence renewed, as well as providing evidence that the renewal application has been made, or at least that attempts have been made in this regard. Insurers would make the necessary concession(s) for valid claims in consideration of this,” said the association.

Both the Verulam and Amanzimtoti Drivers Licence Testing Centres are opened Monday to Saturday during business hours, from 7am - 2pm. Bookings can be made weekdays, from 7am - 3pm.

Contact details are as follows: Verulam office telephone number is 031 3221771 and 031 322 1853. The email address is: [email protected]

Amanzimtoti telephone numbers 031 322 9373 and 031 322 9374. The email address is: [email protected]


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