Driver’s licence renewal mess — no choice but to extend preposterous deadline

The Department of Transport will have no choice but to extend the 31 August 2021 deadline for renewing driver’s licences again, Outa CEO Wayne Duvenage has said.

“The broken system that government is relying on has not been addressed since the state introduced an eight-month extension to licence renewal deadlines,” said Duvenage.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has called on the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, to extend the deadline for renewing driving licences that expired between 26 March and 31 December 2020.

While the deadline of 31 August 2021 is fast approaching, Outa said that government seems to be unmoved by the plight of thousands of motorists who have been battling to renew their driving licences.

Outa said that these motorists will be forced to disobey the law if government is unwilling to grant another extension on the deadline for renewal.

This is despite the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) recently acknowledging that there is a significant backlog when it comes to the renewal of driving licences.

Motorists in Gauteng have complained bitterly about their struggle to book a slot to renew their licence through the eNatis online booking system.

While this system was developed to help root out the corruption that is rife at driving licence testing centres (DLTCs), reports suggest that crooks easily found loopholes in the system to exploit.

There are allegations that individuals and organisations are manipulating the system and selling slots.

Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Jacob Mamabolo said they have appointed a renowned forensic investigation company to investigate the issue.

“So, we will be making an impact on cracking the syndicates and networks of corruption that are making it difficult for everybody to get a slot,” Mamabolo promised.

Aside from the corruption, there are also more basic problems at the driving licence testing centres including system issues, equipment failures, and non-functioning booths.

This is causing applications to be rejected because the equipment the DLTCs use did not meet the requirement of the licence manufacturers.

Managers at DLTCs have indicated that outdated processes and workflows linked to licence renewals prevent them from processing the backlog efficiently.

Mamabolo admitted that the backlog and problems at DLTCs mean that Gauteng motorists will not be able to meet the 31 August deadline to renew their licences.

Wayne Duvenage
Wayne Duvenage, Organisation for Undoing Tax Abuse CEO

While government blamed the pandemic for the inefficiencies in the renewal process, as well as motorists not renewing in time, Outa said the real underlying problems of administrative inefficiencies existed prior to the pandemic.

“We find it preposterous that government expects citizens to be law-abiding on driving licences when the very process they are expected to follow is defunct, ineffective, and broken,” said Outa’s CEO Wayne Duvenage.

Duvenage said that, in a modern world, governments are supposed to implement efficient processes that make it easier for citizens to comply with laws.

“Instead, our government seems unconcerned with the frustrations that motorists are experiencing when trying to book tests for new licences or for licence renewals,” Duvenage said.

He added that motorists cannot take the blame for gross inefficiencies that should have been addressed by the Department of Transport a long time ago.

Outa said it believes the current driving licence problem is an extension of the Department of Transport’s inability to get on top of a myriad of administrative and other issues relating to the motoring public, including:

  • The defunct e-toll scheme
  • The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (Aarto)
  • The inaccurate eNaTIS vehicle registry system
  • Unroadworthy vehicles
  • High road fatalities
  • The Road Accident Fund debacle

Outa said that in its opinion, the state needs to engage meaningfully with all stakeholders to find practical solutions to the current driving licence renewal process.

Outa said that it has proposed that the validity period for renewed driving licences must be extended from 5 to 10 years — similar to many countries around the world.

In the meantime, Outa urged motorists to do everything they can to renew their driving licences before the extension period lapses on 31 August 2021.


Now read: Driver’s licence extortion in South Africa

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Driver’s licence renewal mess — no choice but to extend preposterous deadline