Driver’s licence cards: Here’s when the backlog will finally be cleared
Good news from the transport department for South African drivers.
A South African ID book and the current driver’s licence. Photo for illustration: Gallo Images/Nicolene Olckers
South Africa’s one and only driving licence card production machine is back in operation after a brief period of maintenance and testing.
On Sunday, the Department of Transport said post-maintenance testing unfortunately means the machine will be out of production for another fortnight.
Driver’s licence card machine
This announcement follows the department’s update back in May 2023, stating at the time a necessary three-week production hiatus would be required to replace a faulty part.
The number of driver’s licence cards produced is expected to double from 60 000 cards during the two-week testing period to approximately 120 000 cards per week.
The department highlighted the machine’s solid record, saying it churns out, on average, 2.85 million licence cards every year (over the past two financial years).
Since its inception 25 years ago, the machine printed more than 60 million driver’s licence cards.
Despite the high production rate, a backlog of some 350 000 cards has accumulated over the past five weeks, while the machine was out of service.
The transport department, however, is certain the backlog will be cleared by the end of August this year, thanks to a ‘comprehensive catch-up plan’.
This despite the transport department claiming there was ‘no driver’s licence backlog‘ after the machine initially broke down.
New driver’s licence cards
Moreover, exciting developments lie, including a new licence card, which was approved by Cabinet back in August 2022.
At the time, Cabinet said the new cards will be compatible with the International Information Technology Personal Identification Compliant Driving Licence (ISO18013).
The new cards will be launched before the end of the current financial year. The current cards will be phased out over five years.
In addition, the department says the new cards will usher in a “new ear in the driving licence environment,” since the current machine will be replaced with a meaner, leaner version.