New driving licence cards for South Africa coming this month

 ·10 Apr 2024

Transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga says that her department is making strides with introducing new driving licence cards in South Africa, with printing expected to start by the end of April.

Speaking at a media briefing for the scrapping of e-tolling in Gauteng on Wednesday (10 April), the minister said that her department was at the “tail-end” of the process of procuring a new printing machine for the cards.

“We are at the tail-end of the procurement process, because the team that is busy with that had to travel to France to see the machine for themselves,” the minister said.

The minister said that the department will be printing the new licences before the end of April.

“Before the end of this month, we will be printing new driving licences (cards) and will launch at least the first 100 per province, as we have said. We are moving in that regard.”

Chikunga revealed in January that the DoT had not awarded a tender for the new printer and that it planned to finalise the process before April.

The new driving licences were expected to be launched at the end of March 2024.

With the new printer, the DLCA should be able to produce a card within five working days – nine days faster than the current printer.

New cards, new features

According to the DLCA, the new licence will be aligned closer to international practices, with the new card also allowing for the incorporation of new technologies.

The new driving licence card will have improved security features, including biometric data, holograms, and watermarks, to reduce fraudulent licences and improve road safety.

Tender documents published back in November 2021 revealed how the new card should look.

The front of the card will display the driver’s name, gender, date of birth, ID number, and information about the license, such as issuance date, code, license number, and validity period – much like the old one.

A photo of the licence holder will be shown on the front of the card, along with their signature.

The card body will be made from 100% polycarbonate material with specifically designed security elements, as stated in the tender documents.

The more significant changes then come with the enhanced security features, such as a secondary image of the licence holder’s face engraved during the personalisation process, while micro text and tactile features will also be included.

A security background will also overlap with the image of the licence holder, and the card’s serial number will be printed in barcode format on the reverse side – which also includes a QR code and a ghost image.

In addition to its updated design, the new driver’s license will have a longer validity period of eight years instead of the current five, reducing the frequency of DLTC visits for motorists.

Read: Good news for driving licence renewals in South Africa in 2024

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