Motorists might have to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for a temporary drivers’ licence as the department of transport is still unable to issue licence cards due to a huge backlog in recent months.
The Citizen reported in October on a backlog in the manufacture and delivery of drivers’ licences, apparently caused by a labour dispute by the production team over what it perceived as unfair terms in the contracts. Some claimed to have been employed on a contract basis since 1998, and their gripes led to them being summarily dismissed.
Despite the department telling The Citizen the backlog was expected to be resolved by the end of October, the issuing of licences are still a problem.
According to Tshwane MMC of transport Sheila Lynn Senkubuge, the backlog affected those who applied for their licences after August, despite the labour dispute starting much earlier.
“The different centres are now giving temporary licences. I went myself recently and they gave me a temporary licence, but at a fee,” she said.
The labour dispute has, however, been resolved and the affected employees agreed to resume their duties, pending the finalisation of the dispute at the General Public Service Sector Bargaining Council.
Department spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said the DCLA was now implementing a contingency plan to make up for the lost production time.
He said the current backlog sat at 90 000 drivers licence cards, which would be printed by the end of the year.
“Since July/August, more than 800 000 cards were printed with more than 500 000 cards dispatched. However, the current production backlog sits at 90 000 cards. These orders have been prioritised to be printed in the next three weeks.
“As an interim measure, the department advises motorists to apply for temporary driving licence cards, which have a validity period of six months, to comply with traffic regulations.”