The Western Cape government has requested a further extension to the validity period of learners’ licences, diving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits, citing ongoing delays and a growing production backlog.
In a letter addressed to transport minister Fikile Mbalula, the Western Cape’s provincial minister for transport Daylin Mitchell said the validity of these licences should be extended until the end of 2022.
Mbalula has previously extended expired licences to 31 March 2022 due to delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic which meant motorists could not visit licensing centres. This grace period covered all documents which expired in the period between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2021.
“Given the widespread media reports on the current backlog in the production of driving licence cards, I suggested to Minister Mbalula that an extension should be applicable until at least 31 December 2022.
“I also asked Minister Mbalula to confirm the veracity of some media reports stating the said backlog to be in the region of 400,000 and the time needed to rectify the situation.”
Mitchell said that the news that the country’s only licence card was welcomed but that further clarity was needed on the backlog and how long it would take to be cleared.
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 was sent abroad for repairs, leaving approximately half a million South African motorists stuck with expired driving licence cards.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also led to a significant backlog in licences as testing centres were forced to close for several months due to restrictions.
In a video posted to social media this week, Mbalula announced that the machine has now been fixed and is now back in operation. He added that staff at the DLCA were now working to address the country’s licence backlog.