Frustrated drivers who have been waiting for months for their driving licences are fearful of festive season roadblocks, as they continue to drive without licences due to the severe backlog in the delivery of licence cards.
A labour dispute has led to a nationwide backlog in the issuing of driving licence cards, with some motorists having waited for up to four months.
In October the Department of Transport advised all those waiting for their new driving licences to get a temporary licence. However, drivers said their temporary licences had also expired.
The department then promised to send information on what concessions would be given to drivers in this predicament - however, no response was received by the time of going to print.
“I am scared to drive because I just know that some traffic cop is going to threaten to arrest me or fine me. I know several people going through the same issue.
“Thousands of tax-paying citizens who have paid for their renewals months ago are now stuck with expired cards,” said Jane Smith.
Smith said the delay in receiving her licence card had delayed her receiving her international driving licence.
The backlog is a result of industrial action that started in July at the Driving Licensing Card and Account (DLCA) in Gauteng.
The DLCA is the only national government department responsible for the printing of all driving licence cards for both provincial and municipal licensing centres.
In KwaZulu-Natal, the issuing of driving licences would usually take three to six weeks for delivery of the new licence card but since the strike, some people have waited for more than four months.
The wait may be even longer as the entire production team at DLCA has not been allowed to work until they sign their contracts.
Smith said she applied for her driving licence on August 16 and had been told to check with the Westmead office every two weeks since then.
“The fact that a person has to actually take leave to apply for your renewal due to the shockingly bad service at the various departments is enough.
“But now you go through the process, pay your money and yet four months later still nothing,” Smith said.
She said that the festive season was daunting as there would be many roadblocks on KZN roads.
She said she had no leave remaining with her company and could not spend a day at the licensing department for another temporary licence.
“This is nonsense. How can the department only have one place that makes these cards for all of South Africa? There should have been a back-up plan, especially considering this has been going on for half the year.”