The Organisation for Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) wants Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to extend the deadline for expired drivers licenses or risk thousands of motorists driving without valid cards. This would also open already cash strapped drivers to unnecessary fines in the future.
Panicked motorists are clamouring to meet the 31 August drivers license renewal deadline. But their efforts are being thwarted by the historically problematic eNatis renewal system.
It can take drivers anything between a day and even months on the site to secure an online booking. But even with an online secured slot, there’s no guarantee of completing the process thanks to years of ongoing administrative bungles and equipment malfunctions at testing centres across the country.
Drivers whose licenses expired during the lockdown period between 26 March and 31 December 2020 were granted some reprieve when the transport department gave motorists an extension to renew without penalties.
But problems with the government’s electronic booking system pre-dated the pandemic backlog and Covid-19 restrictions further exacerbated the problem.
“We find it preposterous that government expect citizens to be law-abiding on driving licences when the very process they are expected to follow is defunct, ineffective and broken,” says Outa’s CEO Wayne Duvenage.
He adds that motorists cannot be blamed for gross inefficiencies that should have been addressed by the department of transport a long time ago.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) recently acknowledged the significant backlog relating to the renewal of drivers licences.
One of the long term solutions that Outa is proposing is to extend the period of validity for renewed driving licences from five to 10 years, which is a process applied in many countries around the world.
In the meantime, Outa urges motorists to do everything they can to renew their driving licences before the extension period lapses on 31 August 2021.