The final driver’s license renewal deadline in South Africa is fast approaching and the country could face significant problems as the immediate backlog still stands at 2.1 million cards.
The Ministry of Transport Recount Parliament said on Wednesday that the backlog had not diminished since January 2022 and that 43% of South Africa’s expired driving license cards had yet to be renewed.
“The total backlog of driver’s licenses that expire on March 31, 2022 stands at 2.1 million nationwide,” the department said.
“Nationally, more than 1.2 million licenses out of a total of 2.8 million expired licenses have yet to be renewed.”
“The department has been asked to investigate other ways to deal with driver’s license backlogs, such as extended hours,” he added.
The total backlog reported at the end of January 2022 was 2.1 million driving license cards. Despite Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s assertion that the DLCA can produce 400,000 cards per monththere was no change.
The Driving License Card Account (DLCA) is the agency responsible for printing South African license cards.
Printing delays related to the Covid-19 pandemic, corruption, faulty equipment and system downtime have led the Department of Transportation to grant a one-year grace period for licenses expiring before March 31, 2021.
Although the department says it is making steady progress in resolving this backlog, it will have to use temporary driving licenses and extended hours to clear the stalemate unless the grace period is extended.
“As of March 15, 2022, there are 1.47 million people whose licenses have expired and have not been renewed. It is expected that these candidates will come at the last minute to renew their driver’s license,” the department said during a presentation to parliament.
“To meet this expected demand, the DLCA will continue to work shifts/overtime until the backlog is cleared. It is estimated that this additional backlog will be cleared within 6 months, as it depends on when applicants renew their application. »
Mbalula remained firm in his decision not to extend the deadline.
This despite the faulty card printing machine in November last year due to a power surge caused by flooding of an adjacent building.
The DLCA’s woes were exacerbated earlier in March when widespread disruptions in driver’s license examination centers have forced many to close their doors.
If the renewal deadline is not extended, the Department of Transport could also face legal action – brought by Afriforum.
AfriForum said it was considering taking legal action if Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and his department failed to extend the deadline.
The group said it is because of the government’s inability to offer a work renewal service that motorists are struggling to renew their permits.
According to AfriForum, if the case were to go to court, it could set a legal precedent confirming that the public is being unlawfully punished for the department’s failure to deliver services.