In an effort to alleviate the public’s frustration with the renewal of driving licences, Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula has officially opened two driving licence centres in Gauteng.
“The operationalisation of these centres has added 35 380 renewal slots per month and increased Gauteng capacity for renewal slots by 48%, thus putting Gauteng in pole position to clear its backlog by the end of March next year,” the Minister said on Thursday.
The two centres, which are located at the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) premises at Eco Park, Centurion, and Waterfall Office Park in Midrand, will allow the public to renew driving licences and professional driving permits as well as the conversion of foreign driving licences.
“The centres will set a new benchmark in professionalism, efficiency and service delivery while helping us reduce the backlog of expired driving licences. These centres will operate from 7am until 9pm, from Monday to Sunday.
“Unlike in other licensing centres and registering authorities, services in these new centres have been configured in such a way that the public will not experience long queues. Runners or middlemen who peddle corrupt practices and solicit bribes from motorists will not be allowed anywhere near these premises,” the Minister said.
He said the opening of these centres is a prelude to more services that will be introduced to streamline service delivery and improve efficiency.
“In the coming months, the electronic payment gateway on the online application platform will be operational. First National Bank has been appointed as our preferred banking partner for this purpose and work towards rolling out the service is at an advanced stage,” the Minister said.
In addition, government will be expanding the online services to include online registration of vehicles and notice of change of ownership, online vehicle licence renewals and payment for online crash reports.
The Minister expressed his concern at the low number of motorists who are taking advantage of the extension of the validity period.
“Since the extension of the validity period, only 38 619 motorists have renewed their licences. This leaves us with a backlog of 633 800 expired driving licences that are yet to be renewed.
“We have reason to believe that a number of motorists are labouring under a misconception that there will be another extension. It is simply not possible to keep extending the validity period, without putting the fiscus under tremendous pressure,” Mbalula said.
He warned road users who have failed to come forward during this period that they will face the full might of the law when the extension period expires.
“We do not preclude a possibility of additional penalties that may be imposed on those who fail to renew their driving licences by 31 March 2022,” the Minister said.
The RTMC has fitted two buses with state-of-the-art equipment to serve as mobile centres to assist with licence renewals.
“The process of finalising the RTMC registration as Driving Licence Testing Centre (DLTC) for the operation of these buses remains a work in progress. These buses will be deployed in Diepsloot and Alexandra.
“In addition, two self-service kiosks are ready for deployment to assist those who do not have immediate access to a DLTC,” the Minister said.
The RTMC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) which will pave the way for motorists to make use of private optometrists who will have authority to upload eye test results directly to the Electronic National Administration Traffic Information System (eNatis).
“With the signature of this MOU, we are now moving to the implementation stage of this new innovation,” the Minister said.
Source: South African Government News Agency