Technical issues and corruption causing driver’s licence delays in South Africa

Technical difficulties across the country with the National Traffic Information System (NaTIS) system has led to delays at licencing centres, the City of Cape town says.

The city said that the technical issues have led to the system being slow at times and being offline on a number of occasions, which causes delays with vehicle licensing and renewals that are outside of its control.

“The city regrets delays and extended queues and waiting times at our vehicle licensing offices, and apologises to vehicle owners.

“We ask for their understanding while the national authority in charge of the NaTIS, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) resolves the problems. It is outside of the city’s control, but we are working with the service provider to see to it that problems are resolved as soon as possible when they occur.”

The city said it also has not been provided with adequate numbers of NaTIS terminals by the RTMC to service the 1,3 million registered vehicles in Cape Town.

“The city is ready to expand its vehicle licensing offices but is unable to do so until it receives additional terminals from the RTMC. As a result, our staff are having to work after hours and over weekends to process the large volumes of vehicle registrations and renewals.”

It said that customers should also expected delays as there are high transaction volumes due to the Covid-19 country-wide backlogs.

Backlog and extension

In November, Transport minister Fikile Mbalula said that South Africa has a backlog of 320,000 driving licence, with demand growing by 90,000 each month.

Mbalula said this backlog is caused by corruption among back-office staff at driving licence testing centres (DLTCs). Over the past few weeks, many South Africans trying to renew their driving licences expressed frustration with the system.

One of the main complaints is the online booking system, where it is exceedingly difficult to get a slot for licence renewals.

On Thursday (3 December), the minister issued a directive giving a massive extension to South Africans whose driver’s licences have expired or expire between March and December this year.

According to the department, licences that expire during the period from 26 March 2020 up to and including 31 December 2020 will now be valid, and their validity periods are extended for a further grace period ending on 31 August 2021.

This applies to

  • All learner’s licences;
  • Driving licence cards;
  • Temporary driving licences; and
  • Professional driving permits.

Read: These are some of the safest budget cars to drive in South Africa

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Technical issues and corruption causing driver’s licence delays in South Africa