Calls for the government to grant a further extension of the validity of driving licenses are intensifying.
Read: Call for the validity of expired driver’s licenses to be extended (October 2020)
This follows reports of a huge delay in driver license renewal, a lack of capacity at the Driver License Examination Centers (DLTC) in the sense that these centers cannot cope with the volume of motorists seeking renew your licenses and a problem, ineffective and non-functional. DLTC online reservation system.
Both the Automobile Association (AA) and the Organization to Undo Fiscal Abuse (Outa) have asked Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to further extend the validity period of driver’s licenses.
Attempts to obtain comment from Mbalula’s acting spokesperson were unsuccessful.
DA Gauteng shadow MEC for roads and transportation Fred Nel said last week that Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) acknowledged there is a 500,000 license backlog.
Outa CEO Wayne Duvenage asked Mbalula on Monday not to “force motorists to defy the law.”
“It seems absurd to us that the government expects citizens to abide by the law on driver’s licenses when the very process they are expected to follow is inactive, ineffective and broken,” Duvenage said.
He said the government must engage significantly with all stakeholders to find practical solutions to the current driver’s license renewal process.
He said that one of the most practical suggestions proposed by Outa in recent months is to extend the validity period for renewing the driver’s license from five to ten years, which is a process that is applied in many countries around the world.
The grace period is coming to an end
Layton Beard, an AA spokesman, warned motorists last week that the grace period for vehicle disc and driver’s license renewals ends at the end of August.
The AA said that the extensions that end on August 31 cover two periods:
1. The first extension applies to the period from March 26 to May 31, 2021 and covers the following documents that expired during that time:
Vehicle license discs
Certificates of fitness to drive.
2. The second extension applies to the period from March 26 to December 31, 2020 and covers the following documents that expired during that time:
Beard said the government has indicated that it will not consider further extensions, which will put even more pressure on motorists who have not yet renewed these documents.
However, Beard said that while the time has come for motorists to renew these documents, the time has also come for the government to fix the renewal system.
AA again called on the government to find lasting solutions to renewal problems, emphasizing that the failure of people to renew these documents is mainly due to the “broken system they are forced to use, rather than their lack of Willingness to do it. ”
Outa said he has received many complaints from motorists, highlighting the frustration they encounter when trying to renew a driver’s license.
“The frustrations with the license renewal system have existed for a couple of years, especially in Gauteng, and they existed before the Covid-19 pandemic, although the pandemic certainly exacerbated the problem,” Duvenage said.
“While the government has blamed the pandemic for inefficiencies in the renewal process, as well as drivers who did not renew on time, the real underlying problems of administrative inefficiencies existed before the pandemic.
“This includes an ineffective online reservation system, broken fingerprint machines and eye tests, and corruption,” he said.
“This was compounded by Covid-19 lockdowns and reduced capacity at DLTCs due to Covid-19 restrictions.”
Duvenage said that in a modern world, governments are supposed to implement efficient processes that make it easier for citizens to comply with the laws.
“Instead, our government seems indifferent to the frustrations motorists experience when they try to book exams for new licenses or license renewals,” he said.
Duvenage said motorists cannot take the blame for serious inefficiencies that the Department of Transportation should have addressed long ago and that the department will have no choice but to extend the deadline again.
Outa believes that the current driver’s license issue is an extension of the Department of Transportation’s inability to resolve a host of administrative and other issues related to the automotive public, including the defunct electronic toll scheme, the Demand Act. Administrative Adjudication of Traffic Violations. (Aarto), the inaccurate eNaTIS (National Administration Electronic Traffic Information System) vehicle registration system, unfit to circulate vehicles, road deaths and the debacle of the Road Accident Fund (RAF).
The AA said that despite the grace periods granted for license and disk renewals, many people have not been able to renew these documents through no fault of their own.
“The government recognizes that there are problems in the DLTCs that renew these documents.
“However, despite this, no further extensions will be considered, which means that people are at the mercy of a broken system,” AA said.
“These problems persist and will continue to persist until the government makes a bold decision to replace, not repair or modernize, current IT systems along with increased human resources at DTLCs,” he said.
Motorists were left with no choice
The AA added that although people are willing to renew their licenses or discs, many face excessively long queues caused by downsizing at DLTCs, which often work with limited resources.
“We have received many emails and calls from the public complaining that computers, printers and eye machines do not work at DLTCs.
“The reduction in staff makes the situation worse. In Gauteng, the inability of many to access reserved spaces through the online reservation system exacerbates their frustration, ”he said.
The AA warned that the inability of many people to renew their documents will regrettably “force many to drive with expired and invalid discs and licenses because they have no other choice.”
“People need to move for various reasons: work, children, emergencies,” he said.
“If people cannot renew their documents because the system does not work, they will not stop using their vehicles, they will use them with invalid documents. It’s as simple as that.”