What South Africans need to know if their car licence is expired

Vehicle licence discs which have expired but could not be renewed due to the COVID-19 lockdown will only expire at the end of August.

This is according to an SMS message from the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).

The SMS message informs motorists that their vehicle’s licence disc now expires months later than it was originally scheduled to.

The SMS reads as follows:

[Registration number of vehicle] now expires on 31/08/2020. Please visit https://online.natis.gov.za/#/E1D2 or https://tinyurl.com/y7r34auf to download your notice. Texting and driving is dangerous. Responding to that WhatsApp message is not worth your life – let’s obey the rules of the road! Thank you – the RTMC

The TinyURL link points to the RTMC Mobile Services app for Android.

“The expiry dates were extended as per the directions published by the minister,” RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane told MyBroadband.

“All vehicles that expired during lockdown will now expire on 31 August (90 days from 1 June). It’s slightly longer than 90 days.”

Upon testing the NATIS website, MyBroadband found that browsers struggled to connect. We were able to get the site to load in Firefox, but not in Chrome.

Clicking the Vehicle Licence Renewal button on the website redirected us back to the home page, which loaded very slowly.

“It is slow because high volumes at the moment,” Zwane said. “We are attending to it.”

Re-opening of licensing centres

The Department of Transport published a directive at the start of June allowing driving licence centres, registering authorities, testing stations, and driving schools to resume services from 1 June 2020.

This directive also gave motorists with expired licences a 90-day grace period from the start of June to apply for new documentation. Based on the RTMC’s notice, the end of the grace period for vehicle licence discs has officially been set for 31 August 2020.

The 90-day grace period includes all other licences:

  • Driving licences applications and renewal
  • Learner’s licences
  • Temporary permits
  • Professional driving permits
  • Roadworthy certificates

While the Department of Transport has allowed all licencing authorities to return to work, Johannesburg and Cape Town said that not all services would be immediately available.

The two cities opted for a gradual re-opening of licensing and testing centres throughout their municipal areas.

BusinessTech reported that Johannesburg has suspended all new applications for learner’s and driving tests, including applications for duplicate learner’s licences. It has also put the conversion of driving licences on hold “until full recovery”.

Licensing centres in Johannesburg will operate between 08:30 and 15:00 during the week, and between 08:30 and 14:00 on weekends.

Vehicle Testing Stations will only conduct 24 or fewer roadworthy tests a day, while clients using the mini-bulk services will be required to drop documents between 08:30 and 09:30 every morning. Bulk services clients must drop documents between 08:30 and 11:00.

Cape Town is opening up its licensing and testing centres with similar restrictions. The hours of operation are 08:30 -14:30 to allow for the screening of staff before and after the workday.

“Given the risk of COVID-19 transmission, there is a risk that a centre might have to close at short notice for decontamination where exposure to the virus has been confirmed,” the City of Cape Town stated.

Like Johannesburg, Cape Town licensing centres will not be accepting new applications for learners and driving licence tests. It is prioritising bookings made before the lockdown.

Now read: SA Post Office open for vehicle licence renewals

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What South Africans need to know if their car licence is expired