License renewal strife continues
Covid-19 has rapidly affected our daily lives - what was recognised as normal has become unusual since the deadly virus found its way into South Africa and has been putting our lives at risk, not to mention in a panic mode. The government implemented lockdown to reduce the spread of the virus, but this has destructively impacted our day to day operations. The Department of Transport Management and Public Safety provided motorists with expired driving licenses a 90-day grace period for renewal during level 5 and level 4 of lockdown. The country moved to level 3 with fewer restrictions in June, however motorists have been left disgruntled as they are still having difficulties renewing their licenses.
Numerous South Africans are still unable to renew their driving licenses and their vehicle licences because many driving license testing centres are still closed due to the epidemic, and online bookings have not been a breeze either. "I do not think that even the 90 days validity extension is going to be long enough to catch up the backlog created by two months of the shutdown, particularly insofar as driving licence card renewals and other person licensing issues go. This is because, under normal operating circumstances, there are huge capacity problems and long waiting lists.
I know that driving licence testing centres (DLTCs) are opening gradually but even those that are open are not operating at full capacity. In Gauteng, this problem is worsened by the fact that one may only book an appointment with a DLTC online." said Justice Project SA’s Howard Dembovsky.
With the disconcerting increase of Covid-19 in South Africa, multiple DLTCs have closed down due to infections. The Road Traffic Management Corporation has sent out messages to motorists with expiring dates for 31 August 2020 urging them to download digital notices on the Natis system.
The displeased Automobile Association (AA) has approached The Minister of Transport, Minister Fikile Mbalula, about the unreasonable deadline for 31 August and requested an extension for the end of January 2021 so that all motorists can respectively be attended to.
By: Pearl Mwale