Long queues were seen at driving licence and testing centres after lockdown measures were eased. Now an online application system is operational in Gauteng. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE
Long queues were seen at driving licence and testing centres after lockdown measures were eased. Now an online application system is operational in Gauteng. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has asked transport minister Fikile Mbalula to consider changing the driver’s licence (DL) renewal process from five to 10 years. It has also written to him asking for multiple methods for DL renewal to be made available through test centres and reputable service providers like organisations such as the Automobile Association of SA (AA).

“We believe that both the state and its citizens would benefit from a formal extension of the DL period of applicability from the current five-year period to one of 10 years,” said Dominique Msibi, Portfolio Manager at Outa’s Public Governance Division.

“This should save the South African consumer and government time and money as well as improve the administration and manageability of the renewal process by the state,” he said.

“When driving without a licence due to the state’s inefficiencies, the extension of the grace period for ‘expired’ DL is becoming the norm. We believe there will be no adverse impact on the lives of South Africans in the case of extending DL renewal to 10 years.”

Outa's call comes after bottlenecks caused by the Covid-19 lockdown have caused people to struggle to renew their expired DLs. Many drivers have been unable to find slots to renew their licences on the online registration system used in Gauteng.

The other provinces are not yet linked to the system and they will be incorporated as soon their various transport portfolio MECs make the announcements, according to Simon Zwane, spokesperson of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).

In the meantime, citizens from other provinces should continue to use walk-in bookings at their local post office or licencing departments to renew expired licences.

For Gauteng residents, these new online protocols are designed to counter the spread of Covid-19 and anyone who wishes to renew their driver’s licence should follow the procedure below:

* Apply online at https://online.natis.gov.za

* Complete form DL1: Application for renewal of driving licence card.

* Complete the notification of change of address or particulars of person or organisation (NCP) form.

* You will need to undergo an eye test and take your results to a driving licencing testing centre (DLTC).

A number of business-savvy individuals are offering to wait and search for online slots on behalf of people who don’t have the time to. You pay a fee and they surf the online registration portal. Once a slot has been secured your details are fed into the system and all you are required to do is arrive at your identified DLTC to complete the process.

The snag here is that the one such service provider Motor News spoke to has indicated that its bookings now extend up to four weeks for a slot.

Or you could simply keep on trying to find a slot. DLs that expired between March 26 and August 31 are still deemed valid and drivers have been given until January 31 next year to renew them.

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