Tag: driver’s licence

By Hanno Labuschagne for MyBroadband

Motorists with expired licence cards must keep any proof of attempts to renew their cards to show traffic officials should they be pulled over.

This is the advice from Outa’s executive director of accountability, Stefanie Fick, after the grace period to renew expired licence cards lapsed on 5 May 2022.

The grace period applied to motorists whose licence cards expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2021.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has warned that law enforcement officials would ramp up efforts to punish those who continued to drive with expired cards.

However, Mbalula and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) said traffic officials would consider mitigating factors.

For example, many motorists successfully renewed their cards but are still waiting for them to be ready for collection.

RTMC CEO Makhosini Msibi said drivers should keep their old licence cards and receipt of renewal on hand to avoid penalties.

The RTMC said more than a million drivers had still not renewed their driver’s licence cards at the start of May.

For those whose licence cards expired outside the grace period window — cards can remain valid for another three months after expiry, provided you have proof that you applied for a new card.

However, neither Mbalula nor the RTMC addressed the predicament of those who have struggled to get a booking slot online or failed to finish their appointment at a driver’s licence testing centre due to administrative problems.

Outa’s Stefanie Fick told MyBroadband that documentary or photographic proof of attempts to renew, together with an expired licence card, should be enough to convince a traffic officer that you did not intentionally refuse to renew your licence.

“Always keep your driver’s licence card and proof with you. A screenshot of or the official booking should be enough, in my view.”

“You can write an affidavit if you want, but I doubt it will take the matter further,” Fick added.

Fick rebuffed the transport department’s claims that it had done everything it could to clear the obstacles that prevented people from renewing their licences.

“We agree with the principle that the motorist should abide by the law. However, we are of the opinion that the department should make it possible for the motorist to abide by the law,” Fick said.

“The online booking system is a mess. They admitted to having a backlog they can’t seem to reduce.”

Outa expects the number of fines issued due to expired licence cards to increase in the coming weeks, with one particular goal in mind.

“It appears that traffic fines are considered a money-making business,” Fick said. “It should really be about giving South Africans the services we pay for.”

She stated the RTMC’s new application fees for its online booking system and the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act were definite indications that money was a factor.

“Taxes should be used to curb road deaths and to make our roads safer, not giving fines under circumstances where the state is unable to manage their own processes,” Fick said.

She added that corruption and service delivery should be addressed as well.

 

Source: ITWeb

Driving school operators in Gauteng have vowed to shut down all driving licence testing centres (DLTCs) in the province, as they intensify efforts to have the online drivers’ licence booking system suspended.

Members of the National Driving School Association of SA (NDSASA) have been protesting since 24 February, saying the system has continuous glitches that prevent them from booking their clients.

The Department of Transport and Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) introduced the system to modernise services offered at the DLTCs and also help remove barriers to access and reduce opportunities for corrupt practices.

Earlier this month, the RTMC also announced upgrades to the system, introducing online payments for online licence booking.

This, it said, was designed to enhance online renewals and bookings to create a seamless booking experience when using online booking services.

However, the NDSASA is demanding the system be immediately suspended, saying the system is “not functioning well and is too slow”.

The group wants the one-time password system removed from the platform, as it claims this delays the booking process.

Secondly, it demands the removal of the e-mail address “because not all people who are using the system are having e-mail addresses”.

Lastly, the group wants authorities to fix the error messages that keep appearing on the system.

“We met with the Gauteng Department of Transport and they promised the system will be better today,” Abel Mositsa, NDSASA president, tells ITWeb.

“They promised to remove obstacles that are blocking us to book slots on the system but they didn’t do it. The system is still slow and not working. We have been complaining about this system since in 2018 when it was introduced and even today it’s not working properly.

“Today we are closing all 32 DLTCs in Gauteng; members all over have started closing the stations. Leadership of NDSASA will visit the stations, ensuring all are closed. We requested members to report on the progress and they are closing the centres as we speak.”

Major roads in Gauteng were gridlocked on 24 February as NDSASA members protested, leading to massive traffic delays.

Mositsa says NDSASA members marched to RTMC’s offices on 24 February and were told that people responsible for system changes were in a meeting in Midrand Waterfall office park, one of the RTMC offices.

“We arrived there and we met with an official who promised us they will remove some of the glitches on the systems that are preventing us to make bookings for our clients…but it hasn’t happened.

“Basically, they are fixing the system and the NDSASA wants the system to be put aside and then be re-introduced properly when it’s perfect.”

However, Simon Zwane, RTMC spokesperson, says: “The protesters have not sought an engagement with us. The glitches have been resolved and the system is stable today.

“We are listening to the feedback from users and continuously making improvements to ensure a better customer experience.”

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.

 

SA to get new driver’s licences

Source: MyBroadband

South Africa is set to get new driver’s licences in the next year, Transport minister Fikile Mbalula announced as part of the Driving Licence Card Account’s (DLCA) annual performance plan.

The DLCA, which falls under the Department of Transport as a trading entity, is the sole producer of driver’s licences in South Africa.

The DLCA is currently in the final phase of designing a new South African driver’s licence card.

Mbalula said in the DLCA’s annual performance plan for 2021/2022 the new card is expected to be introduced midway through the financial year.

This means the new driver’s licences may be here later this year or early next year.

The transport minister said the DLCA plans to reduce the turnaround time of the production of driver’s licence cards through ‘atomising’ its productions processes.

The new licence cards will be closer aligned to international practices and incorporate new technologies. The actual design of the licence card will also be changed.

“The introduction of the new driving licence involves a new design of the driving licence card, and the re-engineering of processes to allow for agility and focus on delivering services efficiently and quickly,” the DLCA said.

“The project will allow for the adoption of digital technologies such as blockchain and other related technologies which will form the platform of an integrated transport system.”

The DLCA’s annual performance plan states that one of the group’s key priorities was to modernise the ‘driving licence production environment’.

This will include the purchasing of a new production machine that is capable of printing more modern licences, as well as the introduction of a new secure, high quality, and durable licence card.

While the card will still have to be approved by parliament, it is envisaged that the new design and the procurement of the machine will run concurrently, the DLCA said.

This news follows shortly after Mbalula met with the Gauteng MEC for transport and Gauteng licensing authorities about the challenges related to Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs).

“Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs) provide an important service to our motorists, as they are an important support system to enable mobility,” the transport minister said.

There are, however, pervasive challenges, particularly in Gauteng, related to issuing driver’s licenses.

“The difficulties experienced by citizens in booking slots through the online platform is a serious cause for concern,” Mbalula said.

“We are gravely concerned that preliminary investigations suggest that corruption is the principal driver of lack of availability of booking slots in various DLTCs across Gauteng.”

He said problems at DLTCs impacted the livelihoods of those who require these services to put bread on the table.

“The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare these challenges, most of which are a consequence of corruption in the system,” said Mbalula.

“The additional pressure has amplified these challenges and requires of us to move with speed and deliberate focus in addressing these.”

The aim of the meeting, Mbalula said, was to take stock of the challenges and agree on decisive interventions that effectively address the challenges facing Gauteng and its DLTCs.

The interventions must deliver a system that improves efficiency, eliminates corruption, and modernises processes to eliminate the need for end-users to queue at DLTCs.

“Post our engagements, we will unpack the modalities of these interventions and commit to firm time-lines on the rollout,” Mbalula said.

“We are paying particular attention to the rollout of online services in a manner that improves efficiencies and minimises the time the end-user spends in a queue.”

The ultimate end goal is to eliminate these queues once the full bouquet of online services has been successfully rolled out, the transport minister 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.”

By Gabriella Steyn for IOL 

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) will soon launch a new online booking platform for South Africans to get their driver’s license.

First launched in the City of Tshwane, the system allows users to make an appointment to renew their driver’s license and also offers a delivery service that will deliver you a new card to you through MDS Collivery.

The RTMC said that waiting in long queues will soon be a thing of the past.

“The platform will ease the process of applying for vehicle driving licenses and combat corruption by minimising the manipulation of the process by unscrupulous officials,” said the RTMC in a statement.

The RTMC said that the current process requires applicants to queue for between 140-180 minutes at a testing station. “This process is also fraught with corruption as officials at the licensing centres have an incentive to withhold available bookings for lucrative payments from willing applicants,” said the RTMC.

They believe that this platform will promote efficient service delivery.

“When it is launched later this month, the solution will benefit the public by removing barriers to access, eliminating fraud and corruption, and optimising business operations.”

The system will first be available to people making their applications in Gauteng before it will gradually expand to other parts of the country.

Bookings for Gauteng can be done through The Online Company SA.

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