AfriForum to continue fight to have driver’s licence renewal scrapped
This means that driver's licences will continue to remain valid for only five years.
AfriForum sought to review a regulation providing for the expiry of driving licence cards after five years. Image: File/ Pretoria Rekord
Civil rights organisation AfriForum said its “battle is far from over” after the Pretoria High Court on Monday dismissed the organisation’s attempt to overturn the validity of the driving licence cards.
Driver’s licences are only valid for five years.
AfriForum sought to review a regulation providing for the expiry of driver’s licence cards after five years.
It also called for a reassessment of this obligation, or the total scrapping of this mandate.
Battle not over
AfriForum said its legal team was investigating the possibility of appealing the ruling.
Campaign officer Louis Boshoff said the case was “dismissed on a technicality”.
“The department is unable to issue licence cards on time, but law-abiding citizens are then fined for it.”
Boshoff says it is unfortunate that on a technical point, the court refused condonation for the “late” filing of the review application instead of dealing with the merits of the case. The contradiction in the law is obvious.
During court proceedings in August, AfriForum argued the rule that a driver’s licence card is valid for five years was introduced into law through an amendment to the Road Traffic Regulations in Government Notice 276 on 28 February 1998.
“In its current form, encapsulated in Regulation 108(5)(a), the rule was promulgated nearly 20 years ago.”
However, in his ruling, Judge AJ Strijdom said AfriForum should have brought the application sooner.
“The applicant ought to have brought its application without unreasonable delay and not later than 180 days after it might reasonably have been expected to have become aware of the action and the reasons.”
Check your licences
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) welcomed the decision.
“In dismissing the application, the court found AfriForum had failed to explain why it waited nearly 20 years before it brought the review application. The court said: ‘the explanation for the delay offered by the applicant is not reasonable,’” RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said.
Zwane said AfriForum had sought to “create confusion and cause disorder” in the enforcement of driver’s licence regulations.
Motorists must now check the validity of their driver’s licence cards and make arrangement to have these documents renewed to avoid negative consequences when stopped by traffic officials.
“According to the Natis records, a total of 572 driver’s licence cards expired between January and October this year,” Zwane said.