Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has announced another extension to the driver’s licence renewal deadline, adding that it would be the final opportunity for those with expired licences to submit their applications.
Affected motorists now have until 5 May 2022 to submit their renewal applications — an additional 20 days over the previous extension to 15 April 2022.
“The final opportunity is provided by the current regulations, which extends the grace period by 30 days from [the] date of the end of the state of disaster,” Mbalula said.
“This means affected motorists have until 5 May 2022 to renew their expired driving licence cards.”
He added that he would be unable to extend the grace period further with the state of disaster lifted.
“We continue to urge those whose driving licence cards expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2021 to renew their licence. The end of the state of disaster means we can no longer issue directions that extend further the grace period,” Mbalula said.
Mbalula reluctantly extended the renewal grace period at the last moment from 31 March to 15 April.
All driver’s licence cards, temporary licences, professional driving permits, and learner’s licences that expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2021 would be deemed valid.
The latest extension follows concerns raised by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) that the extension to 15 April was insufficient.
“If there is no further extension, millions of South Africans will be forced to operate a vehicle on a public road with an expired driver’s license card and may run the risk of being issued a traffic fine of up to R2000,” Outa said.
“Outa contends that issuing a fine under the above circumstances is unlawful and that the motorist has a defence if ever prosecuted.”
Outa’s executive director for accountability, Stefanie Fick, explained to MyBroadband that drivers who had done everything in their power to try and get their licence card renewed are not guilty of any offence.
She added that punishing these motorists for departmental insufficiencies and major backlogs out of their control would be “unlawful, unreasonable, and grossly unfair”.
Fick also provided some recommendations for South African motorists, and they still apply despite the further extension of the deadline.
She explained that motorists needed to document their dealings with the authorities.
“A driver must always keep a record of his/her interactions with the authorities. Keep a detailed record (date, time and places) of all your attempts to obtain a new driver’s license card and, where possible, take photos and voice recordings of events,” she said.