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AfriForum ready to take Mbalula on over driving licence deadline

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Mar 10, 2022

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Johannesburg - Civil rights organisation AfriForum has vowed to take legal action against Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula over expired driving licences.

Mbalula has insisted that licences must be renewed by the end of the month.

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There is a backlog of half a million driving licences that are yet to be processed.

AfriForum is demanding Mbalula extend the grace period for renewals, for a reasonable period.

The organisation said the government faced challenges in providing proper service delivery of the licences.

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This week, AfriForum instructed its lawyers to prepare a legal letter to the Department of Transport.

It wants the deadline to be extended beyond March 31, 2022.

The organisation is further considering the possibility of taking on a trial case if the grace period is not extended and a member of the public is punished for driving without a valid licence as a result of the government’s inability to provide the service.

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AfriForum said that might set a legal precedent confirming the unlawfulness of punishing members of the public for the department’s service delivery failures.

“If AfriForum is successful in obtaining a further extension of the licence grace period, it will give members of the public much-needed breathing space to finalise the renewal of their licences,” said Reiner Duvenage, Afriforum's campaign officer for strategy and content.

“This is only fair since the current backlog of licence applications was caused by the department's own systemic and deep-rooted failures in the first place.”

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Duvenage said members of the public were fed up with the department’s "feeble excuses for its shocking standards of service delivery".

“This is why AfriForum is acting on behalf of its members and the broader public, by continuing to apply pressure on the Transport Department to fulfil its responsibility of providing proper service delivery,” Duvenage said.

Meanwhile, Mbalula has said drivers who have expired licences would have to apply for a temporary driving licence.

“Those who are not covered by the grace period and whose licence cards have already expired will also have to apply for a temporary driving licence,” Mbalula said.

“We remain on track to clear the renewal backlog. As of 25 February 2022, we had produced 401.131 driving licence cards. The backlog, which only relates to those who have lodged renewal applications, currently stands at 534.807.”

He said that in the 16 days since the online system went live, 3 641 transactions were successfully processed with a monetary value of more than R2 million.

“As we approach the final deadline of the grace period for those whose driving licences expired between March 26, 2020 and August 31, we urge those motorists whose driving licences have expired to renew their licences and not wait for the last moment.

“With the introduction of online services, motorists can now book their slots online and proceed to make payment online,” Mbalula said.

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Political Bureau

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