South Africa to get a new driver’s licence that works through your mobile phone

 ·5 May 2021

The Driving Licence Card Account (DLCA) says it is making significant upgrades to its systems in preparation for the introduction of the country’s first electronic driver’s licence.

The DLCA is the sole producer of driver’s licences in South Africa, and falls under the Department of Transport as a trading entity.

The group’s annual performance plan for 2021/2022 states that one of the group’s key priorities is to modernise the ‘driving licence production environment’.

This will include the purchasing of a new production machine that is capable of printing more modern licences, as well as the introduction of a new secure, high quality and durable licence card.

While the card will still have to be approved by parliament, it is envisaged that the new design in the procurement of the machine will run concurrently, the DLCA said.

The authority said that the see changes are ultimately geared towards the launch of an electronic driver’s licence in the country.

“The changes to the card production environment will lay the foundation for the introduction of a mobile or e-driving licence (e-DL).

“With the introduction of the e-DL, the motorist will have an option to apply for a physical card and electronic driver’s licence,” the DLCA said.

The group added that the introduction of an electronic licence is now possible due to increased mobile broadband penetration across the country.

“According to an Icasa report on the state of the ICT sector, the total number of 4G/LTE device subscribers in South Africa in 2018 was over 12.6 million. The report also found that South Africa has an 81.72% smartphone penetration.”

Because of this, the DLCA anticipates that the adoption and issuance of e-DL will grow more popular over time.

Updated physical licence 

Before the new electronic driver’s licence is introduced, the DLCA intends to introduced an updated physical driver’s licence within the 2021/2022 financial year.

The DLCA said that the new licence will be aligned closer to international practices, with the new card also allowing for the incorporation of new technologies. The actual design of the card will also be changed.

“The introduction of the new driving licence involves a new design of the driving licence card, and the re-engineering of processes to allow for agility and focus on delivering services efficiently and quickly.

“The project will allow for the adoption of digital technologies such as blockchain and other related technologies which will form the the platform an integrated transport system.”

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