Extend driver's licence period and scrap e-tolls, Minister Mbalula
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) welcomes Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s statement today in which he announced that plans are underway to improve service delivery to motorists when renewing driver’s licence cards. “Being compliant should never be burdensome to the public,” said OUTA’s CEO, Wayne Duvenage.
Duvenage says OUTA is also eagerly awaiting the announcement of the Department’s decision or not to extend the driver’s licence validity period to 10 years. “OUTA met with the Minister in March this year to discuss its request to extend the validity to 10 years, something we have advocated for the past two years. We also presented the Minister with our own research into this matter. The outcome of research undertaken by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) and the Minister’s decision on this, will determine OUTA’s next steps on this matter.”
Judging from the Minister’s statement, OUTA’s research appears to be in line with that of the RTMC. However, OUTA’s research shows that there is no correlation between better road safety and shorter validity of cards. “It is therefore of utmost importance to OUTA that the RTMC’s research is made public for us to compare it with our own findings and thus, we urge the Minister to show us the research.”
It would appear from today’s press conference as if Minister Mbalula is considering an extension. However, OUTA questions the Minister’s insistence that Cabinet needs to approve the driver’s licence validity period. “We believe this power rests with the Minister of Transport, as it was done in 2013 when Minister Dipuo Peters approved this same decision within the purview of the Minister’s powers.”
Duvenage says OUTA notes the announcement about new integrated driver’s licene cards, due for roll-out in 2024. “We hope the procurement process for a new card manufacturing machine will be transparent, and in the best interest of the country, and not subject to unnecessary middlemen costs that push up the cost of administration, as is often the case within the public sector.”
According to Duvenage, OUTA is also looking forward to a promised announcement on e-tolls in October. “E-tolls have failed since it’s launch in 2013, which was a matter and outcome that we had warned government about since 2012. It is our view that October’s announcement will lead to the e-toll scheme’s cancellation and the gantries on the highways will be put to other use, such as improving road safety and crime prevention.”
OUTA says that it will not relent in applying pressure, when it comes to protecting motorists from unnecessary costs and frustrating processes when it comes to renewal of licence cards, e-toll decisions, AARTO and a host of other inefficiencies that give rise to poor service delivery.
Comment from OUTA's Wayne Duvenage is here.
Further information on OUTA's work on this issue is here.
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