By Kaya 959 Reporter
The Automobile Association (AA) has welcomed the extension of the grace period for expired driving licences however, it says there are still concerns that the measures may not be implemented time.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced last month that those licences that expired between 26 March and 31 August 2021 will be extended until March 31 next year.
In his announcement, Mbalula touched on the lack of capacity at Driving Licence Testing Centres as well as corruption, the slow work pace and unavailability of the National Traffic Information System.
The AA said it was happy that many of the solutions it had previously proposed have been considered.
“Among these is the establishment of more DLTCs, the introduction of mobile centres and kiosks at busy centres, extended operating hours of the DLTCs, the ability of DLTCs to accept online payments, and the submission of eye tests by optometrists directly to NaTIS.
“This all makes sense and will, hopefully, ease pressure on the system. But now it is all a question of implementation,” the association said.
Online booking system
Mbalula also spoke about planned improvements to the online booking system in Gauteng – which has been a talking point of the AA.
“This is long overdue and must be done as a matter of urgency,” the AA said.
The Minister said there is a backlog of around 2.8 million licences that need to be renewed nationally. He noted that only 1.2m have since been processed.
This means that more than 40% of licences still need to be renewed, in addition to those motorists who need renewals that accrue monthly.
The association said the problem did not lie with motorists but rather with the DLTCs which also experience issues with faulty live capture units for fingerprint and ID verification and faulty eye testing machines.
“The interventions he has announced must now be put in motion. Our concern is that the timeframes are tight, and that many motorists may be stranded without the necessary renewals, forcing yet another extension in March,” the Association said.
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