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'Smart' driver’s licence to be introduced in October 2023

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula also looking at extending renewal period from five to 10 years

Denis Droppa Group motoring editor
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula. File photo.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula. File photo.
Image: Supplied

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has announced that a new-generation “smart” driver’s licence card will be rolled out from October 2023, with the current card to be phased out over a five-year period.

The new card will have advanced security features and meet international standards, which means it can also be used as a form of identification, Mbalula said on Thursday.

The transport department is looking into extending the validity period of the licence card from five to 10 years.

Mbalula said the 2.1-million backlog in issuing driving licences will be cleared by September 2022. The Driving Licence Card Authority (DLCA) is producing about 400,000 cards per month with the facility operational 24 hours a day.

The backlog was worsened by the breakdown of the printing machine in November, which was sent to Germany for repairs and returned to SA last month.

“The card production is in full swing and work is under way to clear the backlog. In the two weeks since the production process resumed, the DLCA has produced 128,436 driving licence cards,” he said.

There will be no extension to the grace period announced in August for the renewal of learner’s licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits.

“Those whose cards expired between March 26 2020 and August 31 2021 are deemed to be valid until March 31 2022. However, those whose licences expired after August 31 are required to apply for a temporary driving licence as the grace period does not cover them,” he said.

Services to make it more convenient for motorists to renew licences will include the roll out of online services on February 17.

Processes to digitalise driving licence renewal procedures are in the pipeline and will result in a paperless process. This will include online eye-testing when driver’s licences are renewed, where the eye test result will be automatically uploaded and linked to the user application, Mbalula said.


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