Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says investigations are still underway to determine whether the license renewal should be extended to once every 10 years.
Currently, motorists are required to renew their driver’s license every five years for a fee. Motorists and civil rights watchdogs have argued that the five-year extension is nothing but a money-making scheme, as the process is purely administrative and does nothing to increase safety or curb the carnage on our roads.
License renewals do not retest motorists on their driving skills or understanding of road signs or traffic laws.
Persistent problems with corruption, massive backlogs and rampant incompetence at the administrative level have fueled calls for the painfully time-consuming exercise to be extended to once every 10 years.
“I had the research carried out by RTMC and doing a global comparative study because the driving license regime is not only limited to the Republic, we measure ourselves according to international standards,” Mbalula said during an interview with TalkRadio 702 on Friday.
The minister has promised to invite tax abuse watchdog Outa to present their arguments for a 10-year driver’s license renewal, but warns that if research advises against 10 years, it will not be carried out.
Department wants to appeal against decision of the court of Aarto
In January, the Supreme Court of Pretoria ruled that the South African Administrative Trial of Traffic Violations (Aarto) Act and the Aarto Amendment Act are unconstitutional.
The demerit points system was intended as a deterrent to bad driving, but was heavily criticized as just another way to milk motorists.
“They said it was a plan to make money, but it’s not true. It is to hold motorists accountable,” Mbalula emphasizes.
“As long as violators on our roads do not receive heavy penalties, it is business as usual,” he said.
But despite Mbalula admitting speeding isn’t the root cause of the carnage on the roads, RTMC remains adamant reduce speed limits by 10 km/h†
Currently, driving under the influence of alcohol and poorly trained drivers are the main causes of accidents.
Interestingly, the department has not revealed whether the poor condition of roads and the constantly malfunctioning traffic lights are a factor in killing the road.
Potholes that give Mbalula ‘sleepless nights’
If you’re wondering if the government is aware that motorists are stunt driving around the growing number of potholes on our roads, it is.
During the interview, Mbalula told listeners that the dangerous potholes in Johannesburg are giving him “sleepless nights.”
But other than the minister lost his eyes a little, the minister gave the audience no further information about how his department is solving this worsening problem.