Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says progress has been made in reducing the driver license backlog.
Releasing the monthly road statistics for January on Monday, Mbalula indicated that the backlog has been reduced to just over 300,000 cards.
“As we continue to take measures to address the prevalence of incompetent drivers on our roads, we are also making progress in eliminating the backlog of license card issuance.
“To date, we have produced 306,576 cards, almost halving the backlog we had on January 20, 2022. That backlog is now at 314,000. However, the cumulative backlog that includes new extensions currently stands at 545,517 on February 16, 2022, “the minister said.
The backlog has been cleared after the return of the production machine for the driver’s license card, after it was sent to: Germany for repairs.
Earlier this month, Mbalula said the Driving License Card Authority (DLCA) aims to produce about 400,000 cards per month as the facility operates 24 hours a day.
The then minister revealed that the 2.1 million arrears of the driver’s licenses will be wiped by September 2022 after it was exacerbated by the machine malfunction.
Mbalula also pointed out that the March 2022 deadline to renew driving licenses would not be extended.
“Those whose cards expired between March 26, 2020 and August 31, 2021 will be deemed valid until March 22, 2022.
“However, those whose driver’s licenses expired after August 31 should apply for a temporary driver’s license as the grace period does not cover them,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, Mbalula on Monday also provided an update on the online services recently launched by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC†
“Last week we launched online services as part of a series of interventions we are taking to reduce queues at DLTCs and improve the driver’s experience accessing traffic services.
“Despite the technical glitch on the first day, which was resolved by the technicians, a total of 112 transactions were successfully completed in the first 48 hours with a cash value of R63,000,” he said.
The online system, for testing the student’s license and drivers license renewal, including online eye testing, and the eye test result is automatically uploaded and linked to the user application.
The minister said at the launch that he was confident that the digital payment points will reduce queues and corruption in the driving license testing centers (DLTCs).
According to Mbalula, the Ministry of Transport aims to roll out a new smart driving license card from October next year.
“We are in the process of getting cabinet approval for the design of the new map this year. This will then be followed by a procurement process that will allow us to test and launch the card in October 2023,” he said earlier this month.
The minister indicated that the current license card will be phased out over a period of five years to allow the current cards to expire.
The new card will have advanced security features and meet international standards, allowing it to be used as an alternative form of identification as well.
Mbalula indicated last year that the new card would be sent to the cabinet for approval in early 2022.
Additional reporting by Lethabo Malatsia