Motorists who have been unable to renew their expired driving licence cards can breathe a temporary sigh of relief. Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has extended the grace period by two weeks.
The previous deadline expired on March 31, but in a government gazette published on Thursday he said all learner licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits that expired between March 26 2020 and March 31 2022 are deemed valid until April 15 2022.
Mbalula had ignored previous calls by the AA and Outa to extend the deadline due to delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which meant motorists could not visit licensing centres.
He said the transport department was on track with the production of outstanding licence cards and the bottleneck experienced between November 2021 and January 2022 due to a broken card printing machine would be cleared by April.
The AA’s Layton Beard said the two week grace period was insufficient to deal with the backlog and should be extended by another four to six months.
Given the problems with the production of driving licence cards and issues around driving licence testing centres and online booking systems, it was unrealistic to expect the enormous backlog will be cleared so soon.
“It leaves hundreds of thousands of drivers without the necessary documents to be on the road legally,” he said.
Mbalula is scheduled to present details about the extension on Friday morning.