No extension on driver's licence grace period

Thursday, April 28, 2022

With only a week left to the final deadline for the extended grace period for the renewal of driving licence cards, Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula, has encouraged all those who have yet to come forward to renew their licences to do so immediately. 

This applies to driving licence cards that expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2021.

“There will be no further extension of the grace period beyond this period. We will step up our law enforcement interventions in order to penalise those who wilfully disregard the law and fail to renew their expired licences, while assisting those with genuine challenges,” the Minister said on Thursday, at a briefing at the Grasmere Toll Plaza, Gauteng.

He made these comments during the release of the preliminary statistics for the Easter weekend, where he also provided an update on the grace period for expired licences.

To deal with the expected increase in the demand for services, the Department of Transport is working with the Road Traffic Management Corporation, provincial and local authorities to implement an extensive plan to assist those who will be seeking to renew their licences.

This plan is already operational in all provinces and entails the following elements:

  • Extending the daily operating hours of driving licence centres by two hours during the week, including opening on weekends (both Saturdays and Sundays) until 31 May 2022.
  • Allowing walk-ins in addition to online bookings in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, where online bookings are operational, until 31 May 2022.  In essence, this means that a motorist who shows up at a Driving Licence Testing Centre (DLTC) to renew their licence will not be turned away merely because they have not made a booking on the online system.
  • Provinces will undertake a robust communication drive to encourage motorists to renew their licences and call on those with online bookings to honour their slots.
  • Enhancing the processing and production of driving licence cards through the introduction of the smart enrolment project, which will provide online driving licence renewal capability.

Currently, the country has a backlog of 1.3 million expired driving licence cards that have yet to be renewed.

An analysis of the backlog by age of drivers, who have not renewed their driving licence cards, shows that motorists between the ages of 25 and 50 years constitute 68% of drivers who have yet to renew their licences.

“Motorists must understand that they have to utilise their booked slots to help us tackle the backlog in a meaningful way. We urge these drivers to ensure that they honour their commitment and take up the slots, which would ordinarily have been used by others who have difficulty in finding slots closer to where they live.

“We have overcome the capacity constraints that delayed the production of driving licence cards due to the machine that broke down last year. The Driving Licence Card Account (DLCA) trading entity is now working 24-hour daily shifts to clear the backlog of driving licence cards,” he said.

By 27 April 2022, government had produced a total of 789 600 driving licence cards. 

“This leaves the backlog of cards to be printed at 596 513.  The backlog that resulted from the breakdown of the machine in November 2021 has since been cleared. The DLCA has ramped up its production capability and will be able to clear the current backlog of cards to be printed by the end of June 2022,” the Minister said.

Government has done everything to remove obstacles that were an impediment in the renewal of driving licences. 

“It is now up to the motoring public to overcome their inertia and comply. Our law enforcement authorities will be extremely ruthless in dealing with drivers who flout the law and drive without a valid driving licence card and cannot produce evidence that they have renewed their licence and are awaiting its issue,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za

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