In a statement by AfriForum earlier this week, the organisation announced it is launching a court bid to oppose the requirement for driving licence cards to be renewed in South Africa every five years.
It also said that fines issued against motorists with expired cards should be illegal, reported MyBroadband.
AfriForum contends that the current National Road Traffic Act regulations surrounding licence card renewals are “unreasonable, arbitrary, and vague.”
The group alleges that the existing renewal period is impractical, saying that the Department of Transport’s “well-documented administrative, operational, and financial struggles make it unfeasible, unreasonable, and irrational to require drivers to renew their licence cards every five years.”
Licence renewals were exacerbated when the Covid-19 pandemic first struck, leading to a backlog of over 500,000 licence renewals.
The situation worsened when the country’s only licence card printing machine broke down, leading to further backlog and the government declaring a temporary grace period for people with expired licences.
That grace period expired earlier this month.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula previously proposed an extension on licence renewals from five to 10 years, which is currently under review.
AfriForum has launched a petition calling for public support, which has 2,280 signatures at the time of publication, with a stated goal of 5,000.
Motorists who have applied for renewals and are awaiting their new licence cards are advised to carry proof of their application in the car at all times.
In addition to calling for an extension of the licence card renewal period, AfriForum maintains that fines served to motorists with expired cards are illegal.
“The legislation does not clearly distinguish between a ‘driving licence’ and a ‘driving licence card’,” it said. “It neither explicitly states that motorists must apply for new licence cards upon expiry.”
Furthermore, the group said that “[the legislation] does not even state that it is a crime to drive with an expired licence card nor prescribe any fines, penalties, or sanctions.”
AfriForum is therefore arguing that motorists cannot be fined for having an expired licence card as no such penalties are prescribed.
Reiner Duvenage, campaign officer for strategy and content at Afriforum, said “the government cannot punish members of the public if it cannot clearly show what law is being transgressed.”
“Any such punishment amounts to a violation of rights.”