Driving licence grace period extended to next year

Fikile Mbalula. Image: GCIS

With the growing backlog at driving licence testing centres (DLTCs), government is further extending the grace period for the renewal of licences.

“To give motorists a fair opportunity to renew their licences, while we are rolling out a number of measures to improve efficiencies and resolve challenges, we have decided to extend further the grace period for the renewal of licences,” transport minister Fikile Mbalula said on Friday.

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in restrictions that led to the closure of DLTCs, which caused backlogs. Addressing a media briefing, the minister said nationally, more than 1.2 million expired licences have not yet been renewed, out of a total of almost 2.9 million. This represents 42.4% non-renewal, with 57.6% of all expired licences having been renewed.

“All learner’s licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits that expired during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020 up to and including 31 August 2021, are deemed to be valid, and their validity periods are extended for a further grace period ending on 31 March 2022.

Considering that Gauteng poses the biggest challenge due to the large population of motorists, and the fact that it remains the only province that has extensively deployed an online booking system, actions have been identified to tackle challenges specific to the province, the minister added.

Capacity challenges

Gauteng has experienced serious capacity challenges which result in, among other things, the non-availability of booking slots to those who intend to renew their licences.

“In addition to the interventions the province and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) are making in arresting the corruption that has bedevilled the system, additional capacity will be added through the opening of two DLTCs operated by the RTMC at Waterfall Park in Midrand and Eco Park in Centurion.

Read: South Africa’s driving licence renewal disaster

“These two centres will open their doors on 1 October and will operate seven days a week, from 7am to 9pm. The operationalisation of these centres will add 35 380 renewal slots per month and increase Gauteng capacity for renewal slots by 48%,” Mbalula said.

He said an e-mail service for Gauteng users who experience difficulties with online bookings and renewing their licences has been activated.

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