Scrapping South Africa’s five-year driver’s licence renewal requirement and cutting down on other red tape could result in net savings to the country’s fiscus, according to Angelika Goliger, EY Africa’s chief economist.
Goliger was commenting on finance minister Enoch Godongwana’s upcoming medium-term budget, stating there should be a reduction in smaller regulations and processes that make it much harder for businesses to operate in South Africa – as reported by BusinessTech.
Goliger’s comments follow that of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) in late 2020, where it called on transport minister Fikile Mbalula to change South Africa’s driver’s licence renewal requirements.
The main requirement that Outa proposed was to extend the licence renewal date from five to 10 years. This change would benefit both the government and consumers in terms of time and money saved, it said.
Outa proposed the following main changes to the minister:
- Extending driver’s licence renewals from five to 10 years
- Applying the extensions to motorists between the ages of 18 and 65 years
- Creating a more efficient online application process that can take you through the entire renewal
- Making available multiple methods to renew your driver’s licence through test centres and reputable service providers
- Possibly extending the restrictions on Professional Driver’s Permits, subject to more extensive research
“The state is facing a growing crisis of legitimacy in its inability to address the backlog of driver’s licence renewals, which appears to be getting worse, not better,” Outa said at the time.
“This, in turn, is spilling out into a crisis of administrative challenges that has the potential for citizens to be deemed as not acting ‘outside the law’, when driving without a licence, due to the state’s inefficiencies.”
“The extension of the grace period for ‘expired’ driver’s licences is becoming the norm. We believe there will be no adverse impact on the lives of South Africans in the case of extending driver’s licence renewals to 10 years.”
In late 2021, Mbalula admitted there was a backlog of over 500,000 driver’s licences – and said his department is actively working at solving these issues through several initiatives.
While online systems and alternative renewal sites are in the works, none of these include extending the driver’s licence expiration date.