Motorists have until May to renew driver’s licences after Mbalula’s latest extension

Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula. PHOTO: Gallo Images/Phill Magakoe

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says motorists who are yet to renew their expired driver’s licences have until next month to do so.

The Citizen reports, Mbalula held a media briefing on Tuesday to launch the Easter Road Safety campaign, where he confirmed another extension to the driver’s licence renewal grace period.

The latest deadline was set expire on Friday, 15 April.

The minister had previously announced a 15-day extension on 31 March, which was the initial deadline, for all learner licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits that expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2021.

‘Final opportunity’

During Tuesday’s briefing, Mbalula said there would be no further extensions beyond the latest deadline following the termination of the National State of Disaster.

“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,” he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said during his address to the nation last Monday that Cabinet had decided to end the country’s State of Disaster.

Ramaphosa, however, said at the time that there would be measures, which will lapse after 30 days, to allow for a smooth transition.

This is due to the requirements for a State of Disaster to be declared in terms of the Disaster Management Act no longer being met.

In light of this development, Mbalula said motorists have until 5 May to renew their expired licences.

“The final opportunity is provided by the current regulations which extends the grace period by 30 days from date of the end of the State of Disaster. This means affected motorists have until 5 May 2022 to renew their expired driving licence cards,” he said on Tuesday.

Booking system

The minister also said the “Request A Slot” system, used for online bookings, would be halted until the deadline day.

“It is my intention, for this period, to ban the slot system to enable everybody to go to any [driving licence testing] centres in the country and renew their driver’s licence. So that nobody should say that ‘the queue was long [and] the slots were filled [so] I could not renew’. I intend to [do this] before Easter],” he said.

Mbalula previously said extended the operating times of DLTCs to seven days a week.

In February, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) launched a new online licence booking system, which then sparked protests across parts of Gauteng.

The new system was aimed at relieving the frustrations of long queues at testing centres.

It was introduced to handle services such as the booking of learner licence tests, renewal of driver’s licences, motor vehicle registration and licensing, as well as online vehicle licence renewals.

But driving school owners argued that the system was unusable.

The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport has since signed an agreement with the provincial leg of National Driving School Association of South Africa (NDSASA) as well as the RTMC following service delivery disruptions, which resulted in the closure of DLTCs across the province.

Backlog of driver’s licences

Meanwhile, the Department of Transport last month told Parliament that the total backlog of driver’s licences that have to be renewed, stood at 2.1 million nationwide.

“Nationally, more than 1.2 million licences out of a total of 2.8 million expired licences are yet to be renewed,” the department said at the time.

The minister previously said the backlog will be cleared by September 2022.

The Citizen