In a recent parliamentary Q&A, basic education minister Angie Motshekga said her department is working with the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) to offer driving and learner licences at South African schools, reported BusinessTech.
Motshekga said the agreement will include both classroom lessons as well as formal accreditation through the RTMC.
The planned rollout of the scheme has been temporarily halted due to budgetary constraints – but is still a key priority, she said
“Learner road safety education has been incorporated in the open-source Life Orientation textbooks. The Department is collaborating with RTMC in ensuring that learners can exit the schooling system having obtained a learner driver’s licence,” she said.
“The RTMC is the authority in the issuing of learner and driver’s licences, and they have limited budget and resources to implement this programme. The two departments share plans as required by the protocol and this is a priority in the joint programmes.”
South Africa is currently facing a backlog of over 500,000 driver’s licences after the national Covid-19 lockdown imposed on the country over the past two years forced licensing centres to close temporarily.
This has resulted in a massive backlog of expired vehicle licence discs and driving licences.
Additionally, the country’s only licence printing machine broke down at the end of 2021, leaving approximately half a million South African motorists unable to renew their expired licence cards.
The government has recently been looking at other options to help resolve the driver’s licence issue, including increasing the renewal period of a licence card from five to 10 years.
The grace period for licences that expired during the Covid pandemic is currently set to expire on 31 March 2022, and this cut-off date will not be extended, said transport minister Fikile Mbalula.
This is despite the fact that driver’s licence testing centres have recently been experiencing widespread disruptions, partly due to protesting driving school operators.