Driving licence ‘grace period’ rules you should know about

Motorists are expected to flock to testing centres around the country this week as the country’s driving licence grace period comes to an end.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has confirmed that the government will not issue a further extension and warned that affected motorists have until Thursday (5 May) to renew their expired driving licence cards.

The deadline applies to 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.

Mbalula said that his department has a plan ahead of the expected influx of motorists at driving licence centres this week. This includes extending the daily operating hours of the driving licence centres by two hours during the week and opening on weekends, both Saturday and Sundays, until 31 May 2022, he said.

The rules you should know 

Mbalula has also confirmed that traffic authorities will be stepping up law enforcement after the driving licence renewal grace period lapses on 5 May.

He warned that motorists who have not yet applied for a new licence would be penalised. The deadline also won’t be extended further, he said. However, he also promised that officers would help motorists with ‘genuine challenges’ who could not renew.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation said that motorists should be aware of important rules around expired driving licence cards:

  • Motorists who apply for renewal of their driving licence cards before the expiry date are permitted to use the expired card for a period of three months, provided that they have in their possession the expired card and the receipt in the vehicle at all times. This provision is contained in the country’s National Road Traffic Regulations.
  • Motorists who apply for renewal of their driving licence cards after the expiry date will be compelled to take a temporary driver’s licence because they do not fall within the grace period.

These rules apply generally – ie, to all driving licence cards – but are especially important for those whose licences expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2021, as 5 May is now considered the expiry date for these cards.

“In terms of the regulations of the Road Traffic Act, you are not going to be penalised. We are going to allow you to renew, and what you need to prove to the law enforcer is a receipt that you’ve renewed, as well as your old licence,” said RTMC chief executive Makhosini Msibi.

“Anybody that comes beyond 5 May will be compelled to renew, but over and above, you are therefore compelled to take a temporary driver’s licence because you don’t fall within the grace period.”


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Driving licence ‘grace period’ rules you should know about