Tag: extension

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.

 

Level 4 lockdown ‘will be extended’

Source: MyBroadband

The government will most likely extend the two-week adjusted level four lockdown regulations as Covid-19 cases in South Africa continue to rise.

This is the view of Hugo Pienaar, chief economist at the bureau for economic research at Stellenbosch University.

Pienaar said that when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the move to level four on 27 June 2021, the seven-day rolling average of new daily coronavirus cases was around 15 000.

“Yesterday, the seven-day rolling average was 19 100 and health experts tell us we are yet to reach the peak,” he said.

“Irrespective of the dire impact on the hospitality, liquor and aviation sectors, the state of the pandemic will make it very hard to relax the regulations by Sunday.”

Pienaar said the fact that an agreement has been reached to extend the Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) to employees affected by the level 4 lockdown gives a hint that the regulations will be extended beyond the initial two weeks.

The Ters will allow workers in industries affected by the lockdown to get part of their salary during this period.

Pienaar highlighted that South Africa has been in a similar situation during the second wave when harsher restrictions were kept in place longer than initially planned.

“We are very much in the same situation as then with the new variant driving cases,” Pienaar said.

“We are speculating, but if we throw all of this together, I think an extension is on the cards.”

Daily cases

Last week, South Africa recorded its highest ever number of new daily Covid-19 cases – 26,485 – with a positivity rate of 27.3%.

The Gauteng province accounts for the majority of new cases (61%), followed by the Western Cape (11%) and Limpopo (7%) provinces.

The increase in coronavirus cases came a week after President Cyril Ramaphosa placed the country under stricter lockdown.

Experts pointed out that the impact of the lockdown will only be felt this week as people only start to show symptoms a few days after they contract the virus.

The chart below provides an overview of the average daily positive Covid-19 cases per week, which Pienaar referred to.

SA lockdown: Cele not ruling out extension

According to eNCA, Police Minister Bheki Cele has not ruled out extending the lockdown.

Cele said the government’s priority is to ensure people are safe.

“Remember we started with restriction, then we went to the lockdown. People are asking can we go beyond the lockdown and we are saying anything is possible,” said Cele.

Cele stated that the next step will be determined soon.

“We would wish to go back to the normal life as soon as we can but we wish to go back there with the people alive.”

At the time of publishing, the number of South Africans to have died of COVID-19 now stands at 13. Confirmed cases have also risen to 1 749. Gauteng has the most cases in South Africa, with 713 confirmed infections.

Boston Consulting Group report circulating without ‘context’

A report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), unofficially released over the weekend, said new infections in South Africa will only peak “at the beginning of June” – heightening fears that lockdown would be extended for a month or more.

The report suggested that restrictions will only be lifted somewhere between the end of June and the end of August, due to this.

However, BCG has since stated that the report was a “working document” illustrating just “one scenario” – and that it has been “circulating publicly without context or authorisation from BCG”. The document is meant merely as a planning tool and does not “constitute or substitute for medical or safety advice”, nor is it “a formal endorsement of or recommendation for a particular response”.

Source: Mapletronics

In a time when billions of login credentials are floating around the internet, Google’s new Chrome extension aims to help.

Google’s new extension (currently only available for Chrome) will alert you if one of your username/password combinations is known to already be ‘out in the wild’, according to the company’s blog post.

The extension called Password Checkup, works in the background whenever enter your login details on a site. It compares the data against a large database with nearly four billion credentials that are known to be compromised over the years. If Password Checkup finds a match a red alert box appears and gives you a suggestion to change your password.

Google worked closely with cryptography experts at Stanford University to ensure that your credentials are not compromised while using Password Checkup. In its security blog, Google highlighted that Password Checkup scrambles all credentials with hashing and encryption as protection. Google also assures users that their login details are never seen by the company itself, either.

Don’t have Chrome? There are several other services available for free on the internet that can check to see if your credentials or other personal details have been compromised in a growing number of breaches. Check out Have I Been Pawned, Identity Leak Checker, or Firefox Monitor.

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