Drivers License Extension

With Drivers License Extension, the number of driving licence cards, falling in the category to whom the grace period applies, for which renewal applications have yet to be made, stands at one million four hundred and twenty-four thousand seven hundred and fifty-six (1,424,756). This is a reduction from two million eight hundred and thirteen thousand and sixteen (2,813,016).

This means that only 49% of the affected motorists have applied for renewal of their expired driving licences. The primary reason for this is that motorists are not coming forward to renew their licences for a variety of reasons.

We are concerned that the pace of renewal in the Provinces remains sluggish.

In the Western Cape, out of the four hundred and three thousand five hundred and seven (403,507) expired licences, two hundred and eighteen thousand two hundred and eighty-six (218,286) driving licences have been renewed, representing 54.1% renewal.

In Gauteng, out of the nine hundred and eighty-nine thousand and fifty-eight (989,058) expired licences, five hundred and two thousand and forty-one (502,041) driving licences have been renewed, representing 50.8% renewal.

In the North-West, out of one hundred and thirty-four thousand five hundred and two (134,502) expired licences, sixty-seven thousand nine hundred and thirty-six (67,936) have been renewed, representing 50.5% renewal.

In the Northern Cape, out of fifty-two thousand two hundred and eighty-four (52,284) expired licences, twenty-six thousand three hundred and eighty-two (26,382) driving licences have been renewed, representing 50.5% renewal.

Five Provinces remain below 50% of renewal of expired driving licences.

In the Free State, out of one hundred and thirty-four thousand nine hundred and seventeen (134,917) expired licences, sixty-five thousand five hundred and fifty-one (65,551) driving licences have been renewed, representing 48.6% renewal.

In KwaZulu-Natal, out of the four hundred and forty-eight thousand eight hundred and thirty-six (448,836) expired licences, two hundred and thirteen thousand nine hundred and ninety-five (213,995) driving licences have been renewed, representing 47.7% renewal.

In the Eastern Cape, out of the one hundred and ninety-three thousand nine hundred and sixty-one (193,961) expired licences, eighty-nine thousand seven hundred and seventy-four (89,774) driving licences have been renewed, representing 46.3% renewal.

In Mpumalanga, out of two hundred and twenty-one thousand six hundred and eighty-two (221,682) expired licences, one hundred and one thousand seven hundred and fifty-eight (101,758) driving licences have been renewed, representing 45.9% renewal.

In Limpopo, out of two hundred and thirty-four thousand two hundred and sixty-nine (234,269) expired licences, one hundred and two thousand five hundred and thirty-seven (102,537) driving licences have been renewed, representing 43.8% renewal.

With the imminent end of the state of disaster, Directions issued in terms of the disaster Regulations will also fall away within the time frames indicated in the new Regulations that are currently out of public comment until 1 April 2024. This then poses a new challenge in terms of how far we can extend any grace period.

After consultation with MECs and SALGA, we have decided to extend the grace period of the validity of driving licences that expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2021 to 15 April 2024.

We urge all those who have yet to renew their driving licences not to delay any further and take advantage of the additional capacity we have provided and the online services. Those who apply for renewal of their driving licence cards before the expiry date are permitted to use the expired card for a period of 3 months, provided that they have in their possession the expired card and the receipt in the vehicle at all times. This is a provision that is contained in our National Road Traffic Regulations.

We do acknowledge that the biggest challenge we are facing is the capacity of our DLTCs to cope with the last minute influx of motorists who want to renew their driving licences. Trends demonstrate that the majority of motorists wait until the last minute to renew their driving licences. This places the DLTCs under severe pressure.

We are working closely with Provinces and Municipalities to bring our collective capacity to bear, in order to ensure that our system is able to respond to the demand and does not buckle under pressure. The same is true for the online services the RTMC has introduced to minimise the time motorists spend in queues at the DLTC.

As part of our engagements with various stakeholders, the validity period of driving licence cards has been mooted as one of the options we should consider. We have commissioned the RTMC to undertake research on possible changes to the renewal time-frames. Various countries in the continent have renewal periods that range from 2 to 5 years and a number of other countries require renewal at anything from 6 to 15 years, while others have integrated the driving licence into their identity cards.

The research will look at the co-relation between the renewal period and safety on our roads and what factors should be taken into account if we are to revise the current 5-year validity period. This work is already underway and will be concluded by 30 April 2024.

We have agreed with the MECs that they will extend the operating hours of the DLTCs in different Provinces and open over weekends. The DLCA is already operating 24 hours a day to produce cards, with approval having been granted by the Department of Public Service and Administration for them to exceed the 30% cap on overtime.

We are confident that the measures we have in place will enable us to clear the backlog in the system without putting the motorists on the wrong side of the law through no fault of their own. We are continually monitoring the efficacy of the measures and will make adjustments where we find it necessary.

During the month of March, over 74 000 bookings were made in Gauteng and Eastern Cape respectively. A further 24 000 booking slots were not taken up. We call upon motorists to come forward and renewed their driving licences to avoid penalties on the road.