South Africa has a massive driving licence backlog – here are the rules you should know

South Africa’s growing driver licence backlog has led to concerns from motorists about what happens when their licence expires and they are not able to receive a new card.

Driving licence cards in South Africa are produced by the Driving Licence Card Account (DLCA) – a national entity that produces these driving licence cards for Driving Licence Testing Centres around the country.

The machine used in the production of the cards broke down in late November and is currently abroad for repairs, with approximately half a million South African motorists now stuck with expired driving licence cards.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has indicated that the machine will be repaired by March and that his department will be announcing new temporary measures to assist those affected by the backlog.

He added that the government will move ‘full speed ahead’ on introducing a new driver’s licence card in the country. The minister said that the card is still awaiting final cabinet approval and will be announced shortly.

What the regulations say 

In response to concerns around expired licences, the City of Cape Town has published a brief explainer on the protocols for expired licences and what to do if you cannot get a replacement.

It noted that this is a national issue and advises motorists to continue applying to renew their driving licence cards, in spite of the continued uncertainty around the production of the cards.

“In terms of the National Road Traffic Act, an expired driving licence card will remain valid for a period of three months from the date of expiry, if a renewal application was made before the expiry date. The condition for this is that the holder of the licence must be in possession of the expired card and proof of payment,” it said.

If the situation is not resolved within three months, an application can be made for a temporary licence, which is valid for six months, or until the new/replacement driving licence card is issued, the city said.

It added that the renewal of a driving licence card after its expiry date will automatically require a temporary licence.

However, this does not apply to new drivers, who are issued with a temporary licence on successfully completing their licence test, it said.


Read: Big changes for driver licences in South Africa – including simulators and online renewals


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