Plans for online driver licence and licence disk renewals in South Africa

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) is developing an updated online driver licence system for South Africa, which it says will significantly improve service delivery.

To improve efficiency and cut the time that members of the public spend queuing at licencing centres, the RTMC proposes that drivers be allowed to make online payments for the renewal of driving licence cards or vehicle licence disks and to have these documents delivered directly to the address of their choice.

“This will improve service delivery, cut the time spent on queues at the licencing centres and bring about much-needed convenience to members of the public and other stakeholders.”

The RTMC said it is also developing other online services that are expected to drastically reduce wait times – including digital vehicle registrations.

“To further streamline services, it is proposed that the registration of a vehicle by a title owner and the notification of change of ownership will in future be done online. Insurance companies will also be able to access an electronic copy of an accident report.

“Members have called for these improvements, and they are in line with the new way of doing business in the digital era in which we live,” it said.

Confusion 

The RTMC’s comments come after confusion over the gazetting of new licence fees last week.

In the document published for public comment, a R250 online ‘booking fee’ was recorded, spurring some civil society groups to criticise the RTMC for trying to exploit the online booking system for cash.

The groups read the fee changes to mean that a R250 booking fee would be charged on top of the normal licence fee, which varies from province to province.

However, the corporation said that this was a misinterpretation of the gazette, noting that it was not an additional fee but rather the fee that has always been paid for licence renewal.

“Driving licence cardholders are already paying this fee when renewing their credit card format driving licences at the licensing centres,” it said.

“It is money paid for the production of the credit card format driving licence. The proposed change seeks to make it convenient for driving licence cardholders to make this payment online when making a booking to renew driving licence cards. It is therefore not new, and it is not an additional fee.”

Civil action group Outa said that the misinterpretation of the gazette falls at the feet of the RTMC and the Department of Transport and suggested that the gazette be withdrawn and redrafted to clear up any confusion.

Key questions that remain unanswered by the RTMC include whether the new R250 online booking fee overrides the licence renewal fees set up by different provincial governments and whether the fee is forfeited or refunded when a booking is made and then cancelled.

“These fees are now open for comment – if you don’t even understand what they mean, it’s difficult to comment or be of assistance in making the process better,” Outa said. “We recommend that the RTMC reword the schedule so everybody can understand.”


Read: Confusion over R250 driver licence ‘booking’ fee in South Africa

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Plans for online driver licence and licence disk renewals in South Africa