The Automobile Association (AA) has called on the Minister of Transport to reconsider the government’s refusal to extend the driving licence renewal deadline, and to make provision for a longer renewal period.
The AA also warned that a crisis is looming in South Africa as the deadline for the renewal of driving licences is on Thursday (31 March)and many drivers have not applied for new cards.
WILL THE DEADLINE BE EXTENDED?
In August last year, Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula announced that driving licences which expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2021 will be valid until 31 March 2022.
In February Minister Mbalula indicated that the total backlog of licences that will have expired by 31 March that have to be renewed stands at 2.1 million nationally.
Frustrated citizens who could not renew their cards because of admin difficulties have also pleaded for an extension.
Mbalula was expected to hold a media briefing on Thursday, 31 March regarding the deadline but it has since been postponed.
The AA said it is unrealistic to expect that this enormous backlog will be cleared by today given the recent problems with the production of driving licence cards, and issues around Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs) and online booking systems.
“This leaves hundreds of thousands of drivers without the necessary documents to be on the road legally. Unless traffic law enforcement understands these issues – and finds a suitable way of addressing them – we may find a massive spike in the number of traffic fines issued to motorists in the next couple of weeks and months.”
Automobile Association (AA)
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE DRIVING LICENCE DEADLINE IS NOT EXTENDED?
The Association also said that motorists may find themselves negatively impacted from an insurance perspective if they are involved in crashes.
“Insurers may repudiate claims if motorists are driving with expired licences. Although those who have applied for new licences are covered through an extension of the validity of their licences, there are still many drivers who have not applied for renewed licences for various reasons beyond their control,” the AA said.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) also warned government not to start a war with citizens that it cannot win, on the driving licence renewal issue.
OUTA estimated that come 1 April 2022, South Africa will still have over one million motorists with expired driving licence cards.
The organisation said this is a significant problem and not one that the government will be able to wish away or dump in the laps of its citizens.
ALSO READ: ‘Don’t start a war with citizens’: OUTA warns Govt on drivers licence renewal