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Driving licence extension for motorists who submit applications for renewal by March 31

People queue at the Centurion licensing centre. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

People queue at the Centurion licensing centre. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 28, 2022

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Pretoria - Driving licences of motorists who apply to renew them before the deadline of March 31 will remain valid for a further three months.

This is on condition they are in possession of their old driving licence cards as well as being in possession of proof of fees paid for the application to renew their licence in the form of a receipt.

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With concerns mounting over the looming deadline and the number of outstanding driving licences in production, the national Department of Transport has announced it was well on track with meeting the deadline of clearing the remaining outstanding licences.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) reported that as of February 1, there was a production backlog of 597 000 driving licence cards.

The department announced on Thursday the bottleneck experienced between November 2021 and January 2022 would definitely be cleared by April 2022 as alluded to by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula earlier this month.

They indicated the renewal backlog experienced because of the Covid-19 pandemic grace period would be cleared by September 2022. However, a number of regulations would be applicable for motorists awaiting their new licences until that time.

The regulation is also applicable to those who have applied to renew their driving licence cards as of February 25 and before the end of the grace period of March 31.

According to the department, following the end of this grace period motorists with expired licences who apply after the expiry date would be required to apply for a temporary driving licence.

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“Motorists are therefore encouraged to apply to renew their driving licence cards before the expiry date to avoid incurring any possible additional costs.”

Lobby group AfriForum said although it understood the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, the huge backlog was caused by a number of delays at the department in the first place. Especially taking into consideration the government’s challenge to provide proper service and due to the many members of the public having submitted their driver’s licence applications several months ago.

It was for this reason that AfriForum had instructed its lawyers to prepare a legal letter to the department demanding the grace period for the renewal of licences be extended for a reasonable period beyond March 31, following the announcement by Mbalula on March 7 that the department would not be extending the grace period for expired driver’s licences beyond the deadline.

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“Although the recent announcement brings temporary relief to motorists, it is not the solution to the deep-rooted and systemic problems at the department,” said AfriForum's campaign officer for strategy and content, Reiner Duvenage.

The sentiment of issues at the department being a long-standing issue was also expressed by the Automobile Association (AA) in February after it called on the department to rip out its system and replace it. AA spokesperson Layton Beard said the system had problems before the licence card machine broke, with driving licence testing centres being wholly under-resourced.

Beard said the capacity they (licensing centres) had in terms of their IT infrastructure was very poor, which was exactly why the AA called on the department to rip out the system and replace it. The department added that the dispute which saw licensing centres across closed by the driving schools had also been resolved.

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“The driver licensing and testing centres (DLTCs) are now in full operation to assist the public.”

Pretoria News

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