The Driving Licence Card Account Entity (DLCA) plans to install another 900 Smart Enrolment Units (SEU) across South Africa’s driver’s licence testing centres (DLTC) – reducing the application time and overall waiting time for a new licence, while the department is still in the process of procuring a new printer.
This was revealed by the transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga in response to a recent parliamentary Q&A, reported TopAuto.
The additional 900 enrolment units are expected to be completed over the first three months of 2024 and will add to the 300 SEUs completed in the last quarter of 2023.
This will bring the total to 1,200 SEUs spread over 427 DLTCs by the end of the 2023 financial year.
Chikunga noted that these SEUs will significantly cut down the turnaround time for driver’s licence applications and renewals in the country.
In the group’s 2022/23 annual report, the DLCA explained that the new system would see users creating profiles and handling the application, capturing and payments involved with licence cards online.
Currently, all the admin involved with getting a licence card – whether the first time or upon renewal – is handled at Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs).
However, these new systems will introduce alternative channels to collect enrolment data that is not dependent on equipment, reduce the traffic at the DLTCs, and provide integration to other transport or state entities.
Since the first launch on a pilot basis at the Waterfall Park and Ecopark DLTCs, over 108,000 renewals have been successfully processed by SEUs, and they have proved vital in reducing time spent at DLTCs for citizens.
Usually, an applicant will take approximately 30 minutes to apply for a new licence card, but the SEUs have managed to cut this down to a “maximum of 20 minutes,” said Chikunga.
New licence card printer
Chikunga noted the DLCA is in the process of procuring a new licence card printer that will slash production time by over 64%.
However, the tender contract for the new printer has yet to be awarded to any entity, but Chikunga said it should be finalised before the end of the 2023 financial year (end of March 2024).
“Delays in concluding this evaluation process have been occasioned mainly by the complex nature of this bid itself, coupled with the fact that the evaluation criteria also included a compulsory site inspection process as part of due diligence,” said the minister.
Currently, South Africa is the only country in the world that still relies on a single 25-year-old machine that takes an average of 14 working days to produce one card and is highly prone to breakdowns.
With the new printer, the DLCA will be able to produce a card within five working days – nine days faster than the current printer, said Chikunga.
The new driver’s licence cards accompanying the new printer are expected to look very different from the current ones (see images below), as outlined by a transport department tender document.