Big changes for driving licence cards coming to South Africa

 ·16 Oct 2023

The Driving Licence Card Account (DLCA) says it will be developing a new ‘smart’ enrolment system that will allow users to largely perform self-service licence card applications in South Africa.

The group published its 2022/23 annual report, outlining the new system, which would see users creating profiles and handling the application, capturing and payments involved with licence cards online.

Currently, all the admin involved with getting a licence card – whether the first time or upon renewal – is handled at Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs).

This includes the applications and capturing of data. Some DLTCs have navigated to a newer online system where the bookings and profiles are created online – but much of the admin is still handled in person.

“As part of the IT Digital Transformation Strategy, DLCA will be introducing the concept of smart enrolment,” the group said.

Historically, the collection of enrolment data has generally depended on the devices used, i.e. Live Scanner Unit (LSU), Live Capture Unit (LCU) and then Live Enrolment Unit (LEU).

With the adoption of digital technology, smart enrolment will be able to:

  • Introduce alternative channels to collect enrolment data that is not dependent on equipment;
  • Reduce the traffic at the DLTCs;
  • Provide integration to other transport or state entities.

Overall, the DLCA envisages three main options – a complete online self-service option, a hybrid assisted self-service option, and the traditional method currently being used.

The self-service option would give users the ability to

  • Create a profile
  • Complete the application form
  • Capture an image
  • Capture a signature
  • Upload eye tests
  • Process payments
  • Book an appointment

In this system, the DLTC would just have to verify the details and captured data and process the application.

An assisted self-service, or hybrid system, would allow users to create a profile, complete the application, upload eye test results, and then visit a DLTC to capture outstanding data (image, signature) and verify the details.

The group said this would go a long way in dealing with the lengthy process of getting a licence card and the queues and wait times involved.

According to DLCA director general, James Mlawu, the group has had to deal with many challenges relating to card processing in the 2022/23 financial year, including the deteriorating condition of the machine that prints the cards.

The group had almost 3 million card applications in the year, and managed to deliver just under 3.4 million cards – dealing with the backlogs caused by repeated breakdowns.

Costs associated with the increased demand pushed up 40% – while maintenance costs overshot the budget of R19 million to hit R25 million. Outside the repairs of the enrolment machines, R8 million was spent on other maintenance.

To this end, Mlawu said that the group was in the process of procuring more card machines, while the project to upgrade the technology and production process of new driving licence cards is underway.

“Cabinet has approved the design of the new card and the tender for the procurement of the new production machine is in progress,” he said.

Read: New driving licences coming soon to South Africa – these are the big changes

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