Renewal of driver's licences may be extended by Mbalula
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula is contemplating extending the validity of driver's licences due to the backlog that is facing Driving Licence Testing Centres.
The government initially extended the validity of licences that expired between March 26 and August 31 in the lockdown to remain valid until January next year.
However, due to a backlog for renewals motorists whose licences expired after August 31st have been unable to renew them placing them at risk of being fined and losing out on insurance claims should they be involved in accidents.
According to the Gauteng department of transport there is a backlog of 144,896 in renewals of driver's licences. The backlog of learner driver's licences stands at 39,000 and for a professional driver's permit it is 26,372.
Mbalula told journalists in Temba, Tshwane, that there are negotiations with unions for workers at DLTCs to put in more hours to address the backlog.
“We are confident that this, in a few weeks time, will be something of the past. I will work with my team and seek advice on extension of validity for those who are affected by this because they are facing the ruthlessness of the law as we maintain it out there. It is not a fault of their own doing but our system. As minister of transport I will consult with my …legal team and then next week I will give a pronouncement on that as we address the challenge we are facing in this regards,” Mbalula said.
Motorists whose driver's licences have expired during the national lockdown have been struggling to renew them. The online booking system has been unable to cope with the high demand for licence renewal spots. Gauteng MEC of public transport and roads infrastructure Jacob Mamabolo announced yesterday that the province will dedicate 70% of booking slots and capacity to driver's licence renewals to address current backlogs.
"We have also taken a decision that available capacity in the DLTCs such as equipment, machinery and staff will be dedicated to addressing the backlog in driving licences renewals," Mamabolo said.
He said that a provincial management operations centre will be established to monitor the activities of DLTCs on a daily basis as well as to ensure that the decisions taken at the meeting are implemented.
In December, the department will start a forensic investigation into the allegations of corruption, bribery and collusion taking place at DLTCs.
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