The opposition Democratic Alliance has called for a further extension of South Africa’s driving licence backlog, citing concerns about the massive backlog still facing the country.
The latest deadline lapsed on Thursday (5 May) after multiple extensions to help motorists struggling to get a booking slot or managing to complete their renewal at a driver’s licence testing centre (DLTC).
It applied to all learner’s licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits that expired during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020 up to and including 31 August 2021.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula warned that law enforcement will step up their efforts and penalise those who had failed to renew by the latest deadline.
However, the DA noted that there are still at least 1.3 million drivers without a valid licence, of which, at least 400,000 are in Gauteng alone.
“Gauteng motorists have now the potential to be turned into criminals as they have no other choice but to drive with an expired licence and face a huge fine if they are pulled over by traffic officers,” said the DA’s Fred Nel
“Despite having extended the operating hours of Driver’s Licence Testing Centres to address this, there were simply not enough slots available to ensure that this huge backlog is addressed.”
Furthermore, motorists are also at risk of having their insurance company not pay out should they be involved in an accident, he said.
“The DA is calling on minister of transport, Fikile Mbalula, to extend the grace period once again for the renewal of driver’s licences so that all our motorists affected by this are given sufficient time to renew their licences.”
The Road Traffic Management Corporation said that motorists should be aware of important rules around expired driving licence cards:
- Motorists who applied for renewal of their driving licence cards before the expiry date (5 May) are permitted to use the expired card for a period of three months, provided that they have in their possession the expired card and the receipt in the vehicle at all times. This provision is contained in the country’s National Road Traffic Regulations.
- Motorists who apply for renewal of their driving licence cards after the expiry date will be compelled to take a temporary driver’s licence because they do not fall within the grace period.