The transport department has announced an increase in licence fees. File photo: Chris Collingridge / INLSA

MOTORISTS will have to pay more for their motor vehicle licensing fees from February. The fees will increase almost four times more than the normal yearly increase.

Minister of Transport Joe Maswanganyi announced the increase in national licensing transaction fees for 2018 yesterday.

In a statement released by the ministry, it said in terms of the Road Traffic Management Corporation Act, licensing centres must pay the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) a transaction fee for each motorist it processes.

“This is passed on to the applicant and added to the annual licence fee,” said the statement.

The fees will increase by R30 – from R42 to R72 – as of February 1, the department said.

This marks a significant increase compared with previous years when the fee was hiked by just R6 a year.

It said the increase would affect South African motorists across the country, with the actual licensing fee differing from province to province, dependent on the size and weight of vehicles. 

Kwanele Ncalane, spokesperson for the Department of Transport in KZN, said they were holding ongoing discussions with the national Department of Transport about the issue of licensing fees because of the impact it was having on the province. 

“We are already the most expensive province in the country when it comes to licensing fees. This makes people register their cars outside the province which drains our revenue.

“This also brings in the issue of fraud because if people register their cars in other provinces we have no way of telling whether their cars were really tested,” said Ncalane.

Ncalane said he was not sure of the impact the new increase will have, “I will have to check these determinations.” 

Economist Professor Bonke Dumisa said any increase was bad for the consumers as they were already facing difficult economic times.

“On the other side, for the government, this could also be a revenue generation stream. This is hard especially in KZN where people had already been complaining about high vehicle licensing fees."| 

Rudie Heyneke, transport portfolio manager at Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), said the hike was concerning. 

“The problem is that it’s very steep if you think that from 2009 to 2016, the increase was R12 in total. So this sudden 58% increase raises questions.”

Heyneke said Outa would be watching the department’s financial reports very closely. 

He said in last year’s financial statements, the income from licensing fees was hundreds of millions which went to provinces and municipalities for road maintenance.

“We will be keeping a firm eye to make sure that money is allocated in the right places and used for the right things,” said Heyneke.