A much-needed break for motorists
OUTA welcomes the announcement by the Ministry of Transport that learner’s and driver’s licences which expired in 2020 after lockdown started will be valid until August next year. It is just what South African motorists need as the festive season approaches.
This is what the Ministry of Transport notice says: “All learner’s licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits that expire during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020 up to and including 31 December 2020 are deemed to be valid and their validity periods are extended for a further grace period ending on 31 August 2021.” The notice was issued on 3 December as directions in terms of the Disaster Management Act.
“It has been virtually impossible to renew expired licenses and obtain learner licenses in Gauteng due to the online booking system that does not work and the long queues people have to wait in if they are fortunate enough to get a slot. Not to mention the dysfunction that even if you booked a date and time, you still have to queue when you get to the licensing department,” says Dominique Msibi, Portfolio Manager at OUTA’s Public Governance Division.
It is especially good news for drivers who are 60 years and older. The dedicated resources that were to operate on Wednesdays only did nothing to alleviate the long queues that senior citizens are subjected to, exposing these more vulnerable older people to the risk of contracting Covid-19.
OUTA encourages those who are able to renew their licenses to still do so to reduce the pressure on an already ailing system.
The extension is a temporary solution, under the disaster management legislation, while the licencing system is governed by the National Road Traffic Act. OUTA urges the government to find a long-term solution to this administrative problem, by changing the validity period permanently.
“OUTA believes this is the best opportunity for the Minister to change legislation for the extension of the licence renewal life cycle from five years to 10 years,” says Msibi.
In September 2020, OUTA wrote to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, calling for the validity of driver’s licences to be extended from five years to 10 years, to reduce costs for motorists and improve the administration of the system. See more on this here.