By Umamah Bakharia
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has refused to give any details over a new driver’s license card machine, saying he will answer questions in due time. He was replying to a question after assessing the progress made in upgrading Metrorail’s northern line in Cape Town.
News of the new machine has been making the rounds at a time that the Department of Public Transport is dealing with a backlog of over 400-thousand applications, which they are unable to deal with because its driver’s license printing machine is broken.
According to sources, the card machine broke due to the heavy rainfall that flooded the only licensing machine available in South Africa.
Radio Islam spoke to Automobile Associations, Layton Beard on the possibility of the license card machine.
“Ideally we would have liked to see two or three other machines spread across the country, if you have only one machine and it compromises the entire machine, so yes, it is a huge problem,” says Beard.
He adds that because of the backlog, people are awaiting their documentation which could lead to them driving illegally.
Mbalula says that he was aware of the criticism regarding the delay in the drivers license machine.
“People are asking how can a country have one machine to produce driver’s licenses.. I need to educate you. I will answer all the questions on Wednesday. I will show everyone the driver’s license regime in this country,” he said.
Last week, Mbalula said his department was introducing a new card machine which wouldn’t need to go to Germany to be fixed.
“Once Cabinet approves that, new machines are going to come,” he said.
He said the breakdown of the current card machine occurred before plans were set in place to replace it, which caused a massive backlog of driver’s license.
“Currently we are in a situation where everyday that it’s not here in South Africa printing driving silence card its another couple of thousand of people who are added to the backlog and that is certainly not a position we want to be in,” says Beard.