Major change to driver’s licence renewal grace period

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has changed the grace period for expired driving licences to once again apply only for cards that lapsed before 31 August 2021.

Yesterday, Mbalula issued directions under South Africa’s national state of disaster, extending the grace period for expired cards from 31 March to 15 April 2022.

The amended direction also included cards with expiry dates up to 31 March 2022 — a welcome reprieve for motorists whose licences had expired between 1 September 2021 and 31 March 2022.

However, the minister has now withdrawn yesterday’s notice and reissued it with the old cut-off date — 31 August 2021.

This also applies to learner’s licences, temporary driving licences, and professional driving permits that expire during the period.

Mbalula’s reissuing of the licence renewal grace period amendment follows a media briefing on Friday where he revealed that more than 1.4 million expired driver’s licence cards remain unrenewed.

Only 49% of the 2,813,016 cards that expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2021 were renewed.

Motorists whose licences expired during this period, and who renew before 15 April, will have another three-month grace period during which their licence remains valid.

Therefore, the transport department will have 15 weeks to print 1,947,586 licences — 1,424,756 that must still be renewed, plus a backlog of 522,830.

Mbalula previously said that the Driver’s Licence Card Account (DLCA) could print 400,000 cards per month, running at full tilt.

That is roughly 1.4 million cards in 15 weeks, which means there isn’t enough time to print all the cards that must be renewed.

Mbalula said he could not extend the grace period beyond 15 April, as government plans to lift the state of disaster by then, which would nullify the directions he issued under the disaster regulations.


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Major change to driver’s licence renewal grace period