Only the Cabinet stands between extending the expiry period of South African driver’s licence cards from five to eight years.
This was confirmed last week by none other than Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga, who said an extension was a recommendation her department had made and Cabinet now had to give the go-ahead.
She said the proposed extension was based on the recommendation of an investigation called for by former minister, Fikile Mbalula. The investigators looked at international trends and their effectiveness before reporting back to the current minister on its finding and recommendations.
In 2022 Mbalula said a new driver’s licence card would be introduced from 2023, which has been delayed for some time.
Department spokesperson Collen Msibi said that after Cabinet approval had been obtained for an investigation and recommendations in 2022, multiple tender invitations had been called for.
“It is anticipated that the new driving licence card will be launched in the last quarter of the 2023-2024 financial year.
Referring to the number of machines to be used to introduce the new card, he said the identity of the supplier of machines could not be commented on as the tender process was not complete. Much criticism was levelled at the department when only a single machine produced the current cards. It was subject to a number of breakdowns for extended periods for repairs, forcing many drivers to drive illegally if they could not renew their licences when it was inoperable or, in many cases, necessitating a temporary licence at additional cost.
Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) chief executive officer, Wayne Duvenage, said the extension was a relief. He questioned why the department had not made it valid for 10 years, which seems the common duration in other countries.