Proposed changes for driver’s licences in South Africa

The opposition Democratic Alliance has proposed an overhaul to South Africa’s driving licence system, which grapples with corruption and inefficiencies.

Due to an ineffective online booking system, broken eye testing and fingerprinting machines, reduced capacity in Driver Licence Testing Centres due to Covid-19 restrictions, and corruption, motorists cannot secure bookings in time to renew their driver licences before the 31 August deadline, it said.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation’s (RTMC) has also acknowledged a backlog of 500,000 licences waiting in the system, it said.

To address these and other issues, the DA has proposed the following:

  • Allow special after-hours and weekend services for PrDP (Professional Driving Permit)applicants.
  • Allow Gauteng drivers to renew their driver’s licences anywhere in the country.
  • Immediately allow Gauteng motorists to renew licences at the following surrounding towns: Emalahleni, Delmas, Leandra, Evander, Secunda, Balfour, Sasolburg, Parys, Ventersdorp, Hartbeespoort, Brits, Bela-Bela, Rustenburg, Potchefstroom and Standerton.
  • Provide online applications where drivers can pay their application fees and fill out all forms electronically before visiting a DLTC.
  • Allow applicants to submit eye tests for the tests to be evaluated in their absence (e.g. after-hours). They must only be called for another visit (eye test) if the eye test submitted is unsatisfactory.
  • Increase the number of eye testers at DTLCs to provide faster service and to accommodate more slots daily.
  • Reduce the response time to repair eye testing machines.
  • Allow reputable chains and practices (such as optometrists, banks, supermarkets, etc.) to provide the renewal of driver’s licences on an agency basis.
  • Conduct an audit into whether all available slots are being communicated to the RTMC by licence testing centres and whether all slots provided to the RTMC are indeed logged onto the eNatis system.
  • Allow for the booking system to prioritise licences that are overdue for renewal.
  • Extend the term for driver’s licence renewals to a longer-term (e.g.7 or 10 years).

“The DA will keep pushing for the implementation of these solutions until the capacity of DLTCs in Gauteng can match the demand for licence testing and renewal,” it said.

“The main priority now should be to assist as many motorists as possible to renew their licences to ensure they can operate their licences legally and retain their jobs where they are dependent on their licences to operate a vehicle as part of their employment.”

Read: Massive driver licence backlog as renewal deadline looms

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Proposed changes for driver’s licences in South Africa