South Africa extends grace period for renewal of driving licences

With the current backlog that is being experienced at Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs), government is further extending the grace period for the renewal of licences.

“In order to give motorists a fair opportunity to renew their licences, while we are rolling out a number of measures to improve efficiencies and resolve challenges, we have decided to extend further the grace period for the renewal of licences,” Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula said on Friday.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in restrictions that led to the closure of DLTCs, which caused backlogs.

Addressing a media briefing, the Minister said nationally, 1 210 965 licences are not yet renewed, out of a total of 2 852 388 expired licences.

This represents 42.4% non-renewal, with 57.6% of all expired licences having been renewed.

“All learner’s licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits that expired during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020 up to and including 31 August 2021, are deemed to be valid, and their validity periods are extended for a further grace period ending on 31 March 2022.

“This extension comes into effect from the date of publication of the Directions in the Government Gazette,” the Minister said.

Considering that Gauteng poses the biggest challenge due to the large population of motorists, and the fact that it remains the only province that has extensively deployed the online booking system, specific actions have been identified to tackle challenges specific to the province.

Gauteng has experienced serious capacity challenges which result in, among other things, the non-availability of booking slots to those who intend to renew their licences.

“In addition to the interventions the province and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) are making in arresting the corruption that has bedevilled the system, additional capacity will be added through the opening of two Driving Licence Testing Centres operated by the RTMC at Waterfall Park in Midrand and Eco Park in Centurion.

“These two centres will open their doors on 1 October 2021 and will operate seven days a week, from 7am to 9pm. The operationalisation of these centres will add 35 380 renewal slots per month and increase Gauteng capacity for renewal slots by 48%,” the Mbalula said.

He said an email service for Gauteng users who experience difficulties with online bookings and renewing their licences has been activated.

“A new DLTC in Tembisa also opened its doors in July 2021. The RTMC has fitted two buses with state-of-the-art equipment to serve as mobile centres to assist with licence renewals.

“Once the RTMC registration as DLTC has been finalised, these buses will be deployed in Diepsloot and Alexandra. The planned deployment date is 1 October 2021,” Mbalula said.

Moreover, two self-service kiosks are being prepared for testing and should be rolled out by October 2021 to assist those who do not have immediate access to a DLTC.

“As part of the rollout of a bouquet of services to improve customer experience, processes to introduce online payments are advanced and a banking partner has already been appointed.

“While we had agreed with the MECs that operating hours of DLTCs must be extended, a number of provinces have experienced challenges relating to overtime. However, significant progress has been made in this regard,” the Minister said.

In seven of the nine provinces, large registering authorities and DLTCs have extended their operating hours to include Saturdays, and further augmented their human resource capacity.

Challenges are still being experienced in the Northern Cape and the City of Tshwane. – SAnews

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