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By Narissa Subramoney

Deputy digital news editor

Mbalula: 10-year driver’s license renewal under consideration

Outa invited to make submissions to Mbalula, who says research is being conducted.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says research is still being done to establish if driver’s license renewals should be extended to once every 10 years.

Currently, motorists have to renew their licenses for a fee every five years. Motorists and civil rights watchdogs have argued the five-year renewal is nothing but a money-making scheme, because the process is purely administrative and does nothing to extend safety or curb carnage on our roads.

License renewals don’t retest motorists on their driving skills or understanding of road signs or traffic laws.

The ongoing issues with corruption, massive backlogs, and rampant incompetence at an administrative level have fuelled calls for the painfully time-consuming exercise to be extended to once every 10 years.

“I have commissioned the research through RTMC and doing a global comparative study because the driver’s license regime is not only confined to the Republic, we measure ourselves according to international standards,” Mbalula said during an interview with Talk Radio 702 on Friday.

The minister has committed to inviting tax-abuse watchdog, Outa, to present their arguments for a 10-year drivers license renewal period, but warns that if research advises against 10 years then it will not be implemented.

Department wants to appeal Aarto court decision

In January, The Pretoria High Court found that South Africa’s Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act and the Aarto Amendment Act are unconstitutional.

The demerit system was meant to serve as a deterrent against bad driving but it was heavily criticised as just another way to milk motorists.

“They were saying it’s a money-making scheme but it is not. It is to hold motorists accountable,” insists Mbalula.

“As long as transgressors on our roads do not face heavy punishment, it is business as usual,” he said.

But despite Mbalula admitting that speeding is not the lead cause of the carnage of the roads, the RTMC remains adamant about reducing the speed limits by 10km/h.

Currently, the leading causes of accidents are driving under the influence of alcohol and poorly trained drivers.

Interestingly, the department hasn’t revealed whether the decrepit conditions of roads and consistently malfunctioning traffic lights are contributing a factor to road deaths.

Potholes giving Mbalula ‘sleepless nights’

If you were wondering whether the government is aware that motorists are having to stunt drive around the growing number of potholes on our roads, they are.

During the interview, Mbalula let listeners know that Johannesburg’s dangerous potholes are giving him ‘sleepless nights.’

But apart from losing a bit of shut-eye, the minister didn’t give listeners further information on how his department is solving this compounding problem.

NOW READ: RTMC snuck hidden costs into new online payment system, says OUTA

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