AfriForum said it has instructed its lawyers to prepare a letter for the Department of Transport demanding that the grace period for renewing expired learner’s licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences, and professional driving permits be extended beyond 31 March 2022.
Should the department refuse to extend the deadline, AfriForum said it will consider launching a court case, reported MyBroadband.
If the matter goes to court, the organisation said it could create legal precedent confirming that the public is being unlawfully punished for failed service delivery.
“Members of the public are honestly fed up with the weak excuses for the department’s shocking service delivery standards,” said AfriForum’s Reiner Duvenage.
“That is why AfriForum is taking action on behalf of its members and the public at large to put pressure on the Department of Transport to meet its obligations and provide proper service delivery.”
10-year licence renewals
Due to Covid-19 lockdown measures over the past two years, many motorists were stuck unable to renew their driver’s licence cards.
This resulted in transport minister Fikile Mbalula announcing a grace period that allows motorists whose licence cards expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2021 to legally drive on the road until 31 March 2022.
Shortly after the grace period took effect, the backlog of expired licence cards grew substantially due to the sole 20-year-old printing machine that is used to print all the country’s cards breaking down.
However, Mbalula said in February 2022 that it is not on the transport department’s “agenda” to extend the grace period, according to BusinessTech.
“We think by April we would have been done with a backlog of around two million people,” he said.
“My call to all people is to go and renew your driver licence and be in the queue – there will never be another window.”
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse has called on the government to extend the driver’s licence renewal periods from five to 10 years, stating that this would relieve some of the backlog and should save the government money in the long run.