CIVIL ACTION group Outa has called on transport minister Fikile Mbalula to extend the deadline for the grace period given to motorists who have been unable to renew their driver’s licences in South Africa.
By Staff Reporter
The group said that the deadline of 31 August 2021 is fast approaching, yet thousands of motorists whose driving licences expired between 26 March and 31 December 2020 have been unable to renew.
“These motorists will be forced to disobey the law if the government is unwilling to grant another extension on the deadline for renewal,” it said.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) recently acknowledged a significant backlog, noting that over 500,000 licences were still not processed.
Outa said it has received numerous complaints from motorists, highlighting the frustration encountered when renewing a driving licence.
“Frustrations with the licence renewal system have been around for a couple of years now – especially in Gauteng – and existed before the Covid-19 pandemic, although the pandemic certainly exacerbated the problem,” it said.
“While the government has blamed the pandemic for the inefficiencies in the renewal process as well as motorists not renewing in time, the real underlying problems of administrative inefficiencies existed before the pandemic.
“This includes an ineffective online booking system, broken eye testing and fingerprinting machines and corruption. This was made worse by Covid-19 lockdowns and reduced capacity in Driver Licence Testing Centres due to Covid-19 restrictions,” it said.
The Democratic Alliance this past week also called on the traffic department to make concessions and changes to handle the backlog.
The party made a slew of proposals that officials can implement to take the frustration out of the renewal process, including scrapping the online booking system to combat corruption and allow motorists to use DLTCs as walk-in centres.
“We find it preposterous that government expect citizens to be law-abiding on driving licences when the very process they are expected to follow is defunct, ineffective and broken,” said Outa CEO Wayne Duvenage.
“The government seems unconcerned with the frustrations that motorists are experiencing when trying to book tests for new licences or licence renewals. Motorists cannot take the blame for gross inefficiencies that should have been addressed by the Department of Transport a long time ago.”
Meanwhile, the MasterDrive Youth Driver Programme (MYDP) will be launched this week, in conjunction with Castell Projects and Services.
The programme is designed to provide more advanced training to young, new drivers on the road. These drivers will learn about all the aspects that will make them confident, safe and capable drivers.
The team is looking forward to launching a new training initiative that will help create safer roads and provide young drivers with skills that are often not easily accessible to them.
The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says: “The MYDP provides a unique opportunity for parents to ensure young drivers can access more comprehensive training. It fills the gap between the traditional K53 training and advanced driver training at a more affordable cost for parents.
“The MYDP training will teach new drivers how to raise their awareness levels so that they can understand more than what was learnt at the start. It will help new drivers better understand the machine that they now control and why certain safety skills are so important. It also includes theory that is often overlooked when learning to drive such as what warning lights mean and how to react should one light up.”
Practical elements also form a major part of the course. “This will cover a variety of issues from something that seems as simple as changing a tyre (but which often proves quite a different story late at night when you have never actually done it yourself) to more complex and essential safety lessons on issues such as brake distance control.
“Many of the issues are of vital importance in creating safe and competent drivers on the road. The difficulty, however, is that before now many of these lessons were often only learnt when faced with them in real-life situations on the road. The MYDP course can provide an opportunity to experience these lessons with experienced instructors by your side and in a controlled environment.”
Shamir Schloss, from Castell Projects and Services, adds: “We are extremely excited to launch the programme this week and know that it will make a difference in the safety of our young drivers. They are our future and we need to guide them.”
It is a frightening prospect to hand a set of keys over to your child and hope that they make it home again. “The MYDP course gives you the chance to do everything in your power to ensure your young adult is a safe and competent driver on the road,” says Herbert.
The MYPD will launch this Saturday 28 August.
For more information or to join MasterDrive at the launch contact Nishani at email@example.com
Image (Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula instructed to extend deadline for drivers licenses says OUTA).