Mbalula announces another extension for expired driver’s licences

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula PHOTO: JACQUES NELLES

Department of Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has announced an extension of the grace period for driving licences to April 15.

The initial deadline for the renewal of expired driver’s licence cards was on 31 March.

Mbalula published the 15-day extension in the Government Gazette on Thursday.

“All learner’s licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits that expire during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020 up to and including 31 March 2022 are deemed to be valid and their validity periods are extended for further grace period ending on 15 April 2022.”

Mabalula was supposed to address the nation on Thursday, but postponed the briefing.

In February, Mbalula indicated that the total backlog of licences that will have expired by 31 March that have to be renewed stands at 2.1 million nationally.

Earlier this month, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said it believed Mbalula is trying to deflect the driver’s licence administration chaos onto the public, instead of taking ownership within the department.

Meanwhile, Outa warned Mbalula not to “start a war with motorists”.

“Administrative difficulties and significant backlogs in the renewal process of driver’s licence cards have been the order of the day long before the arrival of the pandemic or the breakdown of the card printing machine at the end of 2021.

“These problems are largely due to difficulties in securing bookings through the online booking system forced onto motorists,” Stefanie Fick, executive director of Outa’s accountability division, said.

AfriForum has already threatened legal action if the renewal deadline is not extended.

“The civil rights organisation is further considering the possibility of taking on a trial case in the event that the grace period is not extended, and a member of the public is punished for driving without a valid licence as a result of government’s own inability to provide this service.”

While millions of irate motorists were concerned about their expired licences, Mbalula once again took to Twitter and seemed more concerned about his birthday on Friday then the licence debacle, with some saying he was “the fool”.

“Tmro is my birthday ???? Please please is not april fool,” he tweeted.

The Citizen/ By Faizel Patel