Tag: backlog

By Myles Illidge for MyBroadband

The Driving Licence Card Account (DLCA) expects to clear the card printing backlog by end-June 2022 — two months earlier than transport minister Fikile Mbalula had promised.

According to the DLCA, the backlog currently sits at 550 000 cards, and it is running two 12 hour shifts to clear it.

“The current production backlog is 550 000, which is based on orders that are in the queue for production,” a DLCA spokesperson told MyBroadband.

“It is estimated that this backlog will be cleared by the end of June 2022.”

Mbalula had previously said that his department and the DLCA would clear the backlog by September 2022.

The spokesperson specified that the 550 000-card backlog only referred to those for which renewal applications had already been submitted.

It does not include all expired licence cards in the country.

The spokesperson said that the breakdown of the printing machine in November 2021 had further exacerbated the backlog caused by Covid-19 by piling on another 640000 cards. This has since been dealt with.

“The challenge occurred as a result of the machine breakdown in November 2021; however, the DLCA has put in place two 12 hour shifts in order to triple production capacity and deal with the backlog,” the spokesperson stated.

“The Driving License Card Account has managed to clear the backlog of 640 000, which resulted from the machine breakdown in November 2021. Since January 2022, the DLCA has printed over 1-million driving cards,” they add.

The backlog of driving licence cards initially formed due to South Africa’s Covid-19 lockdown, during which many cards expired and holders couldn’t apply to renew.

Mbalula issued emergency regulations creating a grace period for licence cards that expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2021.

He then extended the grace period to 31 March 2022 to allow and encourage those who hadn’t applied to submit their renewal applications.

However, South Africa’s only driving licence card printing machine broke down when a power surge caused by flooding in an adjacent building damaged it.

As of 31 March 2022, there was still a significant backlog of cards to be printed, and applications to be submitted.

As a result, Mbalula extended the grace period twice more. The final deadline was 5 May 2022.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) raised concerns that traffic police could extort motorists who had applied to renew their licence, but hadn’t received it yet due to the backlog.

“If there is no further extension, millions of South Africans will be forced to operate a vehicle on a public road with an expired driver’s license card and may run the risk of being issued a traffic fine of up to R2 000,” Outa said.

“Outa contends that issuing a fine under the above circumstances is unlawful and that the motorist has a defence if ever prosecuted.”

Outa’s executive director for accountability, Stefanie Fick, recommended that motorists document their dealings with the authorities to avoid such fines.

“A driver must always keep a record of his or her interactions with the authorities. Keep a detailed record (date, time and places) of all your attempts to obtain a new driver’s license card and, where possible, take photos and voice recordings of events,” she said.

Mbalula has reaffirmed that his department was working on a new driving licence card on several occasions. However, the new card system pilot has been delayed until October 2023.

 

According to a recent analysis by MyBroadband, at current production rates it will take over 11 months for South Africa to clear the backlog of expired driving licence cards that have piled up.

  • This is five months longer than transport minister Fikile Mbalula’s September 2022 date
  • The backlog is due to Covid-19 lockdowns, an expiry extension date and the breakdown of South Africa’s only driving licence card printer in November
  • Estimates show that 2.9-million cards must be printed by September 2022
  • The backlog at 1 February was 2.1-million
  • This increases by an average of 100 000 per month
  • Only 128 000 cards have been printed after the driving licence card printing machine was repaired in Germany
  • The current production rate works out to approximately 260,000 new cards a month – just over half of the 400 000 needed per month to clear the backlog by September
  • At current production, it will take well over 11 months to clear the backlog

 

Huge licence backlog as printer remains broken

By Rapula Moatshe for IOL

The Department of Transport has come under fire from the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) for keeping the public in the dark about the time frame for repairing a printing machine for driving licence cards since it broke down in November last year.

The machine breakdown had reportedly caused a massive backlog of 383 000 licence cards as of December 1.

On Tuesday 11 January Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula, announced that the driver’s licence print machine is currently in Germany for repairs. “The license machine is in Germany, it has broken,” Mbalula said. Minister Mbalula also mentioned that he will announce measures for temporary licences.

Outa chief executive, Wayne Duvenage expressed shock at the manner in which the department failed to avoid the backlog of licence renewals by securing a back-up machine.

“To think that we have one machine that makes licence cards in this country and then that machine breaks down and three months later it is still not fixed. This is serious,” he said.

He also questioned the previous explanation by the department that the machine broke down as a result of flooding.

“Ain’t this machine protected? We don’t even know whether that is the real reason. It was an old machine and probably not maintained, but whatever it is, it is not an excuse,” he said.

In 2019 the department apparently ignored a warning by DA MP and member of the transport portfolio committee Chris Hunsinger about the lack of a back-up plan during an oversight visit to the Driving Licence Card Account facility.

At the time, Hunsinger cited that R640 million of the 2018/2019 transport budget was not spent and could have been used to replace the machine.

Duvenage also slammed Mbalula for the delays in switching the country to a new driving licence card.

“So we hear a lot of talk and no action. And we are not surprised that we find ourselves in this sort of situation where there is now a backlog of driving licences,” he said.

Department spokesperson Lawrence Venkile didn’t respond to questions on the repair delay and the backlog.

Duvenage said: “How long does it take to fix a machine? Unless it is so outdated and so old that its parts don’t exist anymore.”

Mbalula had previously said the machine was older than 20 years. The department had also undertaken to issue a contract for procuring a new machine in the 2020/2021 financial year.

Duvenage attributed the situation to bad administration and no accountability in the department.

“They don’t keep society informed and they don’t update us about what is happening,” he said.

Outa has also reiterated its call for the grace period to be extended beyond March 31 this year in order to deal with the backlog.

The organisation has written a letter to Mbalula to consider the possibility of extending the grace period.

Duvenage also said the country should consider extending the process of renewing licences to every 10 years, instead of five years.

“There are many examples of licences being renewed after every 10 years, even in South Africa it was discussed some years back. I think in 2013 it was agreed to by (then) minister Dipuo Peters, and then there was an about-turn and the whole plan was scrapped,” Duvenage said.

 

Source: MyBroadband 

South Africa’s driving licence renewal system continues to frustrate motorists, and “something sinister” may be behind some of the problems.

This is according to Jacob Mamabolo, Gauteng MEC for public transport and roads infrastructure, who was speaking to ENCA about the problems.

Many South Africans are trying to renew their driving licences which expired during the lockdown when the renewal centres were closed.

The Department of Transport published a directive to address the backlog in driver’s licence renewals to offer motorists a grace period.

All driving licence cards that expired between 26 March 2020 and including 31 August 2020 are now valid for a period ending on 31 January 2021.

This grace period gives motorists some relief, but it has also created a backlog in renewals which are now challenging to resolve.

The fact that driving licences which expired after 31 August do not enjoy the same grace period is putting further strain on the system.

The driving licence renewal problems are so severe that the Automobile Association (AA) has called for urgent changes to the process.

The AA has also called for an immediate moratorium on fining motorists without renewed driving licences.

“It’s an absurd situation where motorists cannot renew their discs or cards and are then stopped and fined for not having done so,” the AA said.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) wants Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to change the driver’s licence validity period from five to 10 years.

“This should save the SA consumer and government time and money as well as improve the administration and manageability of the renewal process by the state,” it said.

It also asked for a more efficient online application process for driver’s licence renewals which precedes the actual renewal.

This, OUTA said, will allow for more effective service delivery and flow between the appointment, eye test, and licence delivery.

Something sinister
There is an even bigger concern related to the driving licence renewal system – government officials who hijack the system.

Mamabolo said the online booking system is a big frustration to motorists trying to renew their licences.

The government has subsequently analysed the data, revealing that there is a problem with how officials are managing and handling the allocation of slots.

He said many slots are allocated to services like new driver’s licence applications, but not to drivers’ licence renewals.

“That tells you that the way the officials are allocating slots on the system is not correct as it makes them underperform in renewals,” he said.

He said they are now investigating why officials are deliberately allocating more slots for new driver’s licences.

He dismissed speculation that bad training may be behind the problem, saying it reveals something far more worrying and sinister.

While not directly mentioning corruption, Mamabolo hinted at something “dodgy” going on at driving licence testing centres (DLTCs).

“We need to investigate and check whether there is something sinister to the trend of lower driving licence renewals,” he said.

Most DLTCs are under the control of municipalities, and Mamabolo will now discuss the issue with the respective mayors at these municipalities.

Steps to resolve the problem
Mamabolo assured motorists that they are acting to resolve the problems with driving licence renewals, which include:

Issuing a directive to increase the allocation of driving licence renewal slots.
Commissioning an investigation into potential corruption in the allocation of slots.
Looking at increasing the number DLTCs and explore other options like using mobile facilities.
“What the people are going through is definitely unacceptable,” Mamabolo said.

 

By Ishani Chetty for Cape Town Etc

Ongoing problems with the application and issuing of learner’s and driver’s licences are being experienced across the country, with the Western Cape and Gauteng being affected the most.

City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith said that those waiting to receive their new licence cards can expect further delays, “as the situation at the Driving Licence Card Account (DLCA) in Pretoria has yet to see any significant improvement.”

Driving licence cards are issued by the DLCA, a trading entity of the National Department of Transport.

Four months of industrial action in July 2018, as well as damage to the interface system between the card production facility and the National Traffic information system (NaTIS) after its annual maintenance, are said to be some of the cause of these nationwide delays.

A third issue hindering the process is the poor state of the Live Enrollment Units (LEUs), systems that are used to perform eye tests on learner’s and driving licence applicants as well as those applying for licence card renewals. The LEUs are in dire need of a software upgrade and as a result are not functioning well.

“The technical assistance required from the DLCA is lacking and further compounds the problem. Without eye tests, licence and card applications cannot be completed,” said Smith.

Applicants are not allowed to provide letters from optometrists and must complete the eye tests at the testing facilities.

The Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works has been urging the National Department of Transport, the DLCA and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) to address the problems.

Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC Donald Grant said that the National Department of Transport has not kept their word.

“To date, various commitments have been made but little progress has been made by the National Department of Transport to effectively address these very urgent issues.”

Driving licence card renewals before the the card’s expiry date cost R140, while applicants who apply to renew their licence cards after the expiry date must pay R140 plus an additional R45 for a temporary licence. Temporary licences are only valid for six months and can be obtained while drivers are still waiting for their new licence card.

Motorists may continue to drive for a maximum of three months as long as they are equipped with their application receipts or old cards. If their temporary licence expires before they receive their new card, they will have to apply for a second temporary licence but will not be charged for it.

Members of the public can check the application of their status by SMSing their identification number to 33214, a system that has been set up by the DLCA.

Applicants will receive one of these responses:

Status Message
Order not received and unknown ID

DLCA does not have an application for this ID number
Order received by CPF

Dear [Initials],[Surname] – your order has been received and is awaiting production
Order in production

Dear [Initials],[Surname] – your order is currently in production
Order produced and posted

Dear [Initials],[Surname] – your order cards has been produced. Kindly wait for collection SMS
Smith said the City is committed to resolving the issue and alleviating long waiting periods locals’ frustration.

“We are aware of the frustration that is being experienced daily as a result of this failure by the National Department of Transport and its agencies, but we would like to assure the citizens of the Western Cape that we are doing all that we can to mitigate the inconvenience, and find a permanent solution to the issues currently plaguing the system.”

SAPO CEO sets deadline to clear backlog

A backlog of millions of items still waiting to be delivered at the Johannesburg nerve centre of the Post Office is being cleared as fast as possible.

That’s according to SAPO CEO Mark Barnes, who has stated that the provider is looking to clear the backlog by 24 November 2018.

“We started off in April with a 46-million item backlog and we are now down to a 7.8-million backlog.”

The bulk of that is sitting at the Witspos Hub in Johannesburg.

SAPO defines a “backlog” as any item of post five or more days behind schedule.

Barnes says there have been some improvements in clearing the domestic mailing backlog but they still need to catch up with international deliveries.

Listen to the full interview here.

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