Motorists can expect a whopping 71.43% increase on license disc transaction fees from next year. This comes after the Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi announced that motorists will be paying R30 more.
South African drivers are currently paying R42 in transaction fees every time they renew their licence disc.
From February 1 2018, this will increase to R72.
Why is there an increase?
According to a government gazette that was released earlier this month, the transaction fee is an additional fee that is added to the vehicle licence renewal fee.
All licencing centres are required to pay a transaction fee to the Road Traffic Management Corporation(RTMC) for each licence disc that is renewed.
Since 2009, the increase has been a measly R6 each year. So why has there been such a drastic increase now?
The Justice Project SA’s Howard Dembrovsky has requested an answer from the Minister, however he has yet to receive a response.
“Just because the law says you may prescribe fees, it doesn’t say that you can prescribe fees at whatever you feel like prescribing them as,” disputes Dembrovsky.
Want to know the truth?
There are currently 12.1 million registered vehicles on South Africa’s roads. That means that although to some the increase might not sound like a lot, it all adds up.
With the new increase, the Department will collect R843 million!
So where is this actually going? Dembrovsky is adamant that this will just assist in a nice, fat salary increase.
“The point is,what is the RTMC doing with the money that it gets already? When the RTMC comes and shows that it has reduced road carnage by 71.43%, then we can talk about a 71.43% in the transaction fees.”
The government expresses their increases in percentages, however because they are earning so much already, their percentage increase “looks” low.
“When we say that the CEO of the RTMC got a 31% salary increase and we compare that to the 71.43% hike in the transaction fees, we say well that’s not too bad. But that 71.43% equates to R30 and in his case, 31% equates to R2 million. That’s why state institutions love using percentages, because it skews your view,” adds Dembrovsky.
So what is being done?
“If the Minister gets away with this, what’s to prevent him from increasing the fees by 200% next year,” says Dembrovsky.
The Justice Project SA is currently awaiting a response from the Minister for his reasoning for the increase.
If the reasoning is not adequate, Dembrovsky and his team will request a Promotion of Administrative Justice Act(PAJA) review.
The review will possibly ensure that the increase is reasonable like in previous years.
“Unfortunately, I believe it falls on organisations such as ourselves, to represent the rights and interests of motorists to do something about it,” explains Dembrovsky.
So, all we can do is wait and see what transpires with the Minister. If he doesn’t respond to the Justice Project, Dembrovsky is ready to take this matter further.
“I think it’s an unfortunate situation that we face in South Africa, where our politicians tend to think we, the people work for them. Ultimately, someone has to call them out.”
*To find out what you are currently paying for licence disc renewals, click here.