Faizel Patel – 12/11/2020
The Automobile Association’s (AA) Layton Beard says the backlog of driving licences renewals was under pressure way before the COVID-19 lockdown.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on Wednesday revealed that South Africa has a backlog of 320-thousand driving licences, with demand growing by 90,000 each month.
South Africans were left fuming over the past couple of weeks as they struggled to renew their licences.
Beard says the current licence system is shambolic and had major problems even before the Coronavirus pandemic hit the country.
“Anybody who has in the last five years tried to get their vehicle licence or their driving licence card renewed will tell you that the process is not simple. There will be queuing for hours to get these documents sorted out and that sometimes even when they do get at the front of the queue, equipment isn’t working, there aren’t enough staff working in the centre. There are major problems.”
Beard says there is a solution to manage the licencing backlog.
“Our solutions at the end of the day was to extend the validity period of driving licences from five to ten years. We believe that that will go a long way to alleviating the backlogs and certainly assist people remain legal on the road. Everybody wants to be legal, but if they can’t because they can’t access the system to do that, we are going to get into a situation where people are simply going to say ‘well I tried many times, I failed and now I am just going to have to drive illegally.”
Beard says the AA believes there should be a moratorium on the issuing of fines until the licence system is sorted out and people are able to easily and very effectively renew their licences.
Listen to the interview with Layton Beard