New driver’s licence card to be introduced this year

Along with a bouquet of measures designed to ‘kill queues’ at testing centres.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says his department is also ‘working on undermining the corruption involved’ in the booking of licence test slots. Image: Nadine Hutton, Bloomberg

The Department of Transport plans to introduce a new driver’s licence card this year and implement a bouquet of measures to improve the service the public receives when visiting and interacting with driving licence test centres (DLTCs).

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula confirmed this on Friday after delivering his budget vote speech, adding that his department is looking at launching and rolling out the new card before the end of this year.

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Mbalula said the National Department of Transport (NDoT) wants to “kill the queues at DLTCs and is also working on undermining the corruption involved in the booking of DLTC slots, especially in Gauteng.

He said this is to ensure that getting a driver’s licence does not become a cumbersome and stressful journey, and to make it accessible.

Chaos at DLTCs, which was exacerbated by the Covid-19 lockdowns, led to the validity of driver’s licences and learner driver’s licences that expired during the lockdowns in 2020 being extended until August 16, 2021.

‘Possibility of streamlining’ things to be considered

Mbalula said the NDoT has started a process to consider the possibility of streamlining and rationalising its road traffic entities, such as the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) and the Driving Licence Card Account (DLCA) trading entity.

He said this process includes reviewing the founding laws of some of these entities to ascertain areas of duplication, drivers of inefficiency and areas that require streamlining.

“Closely aligned to this is the review of the service delivery model of driver and vehicle licencing. We have been paying particular attention to the challenges confronting [DLTCs] across the country, and the impact these have on the livelihoods of those who require these services to put bread on the table.

“We have taken heed of the plethora of complaints by members of the public, civil society and political parties and we are taking decisive action to address the issues raised,” he said.

“The end-game of our interventions is improved service delivery and enhanced efficiency in the functioning of DLTCs, free of corruption,” he said.

Improvements

Mbalula added that the NDoT has engaged with the three spheres of government and agreed on a range of measures that will address the most pressing challenges relating to driver and vehicle licensing.

He said these include longer operating hours, the use of technology to eliminate queues, and the introduction of an online interface for optometrist and medical practitioners to upload on the eNatis the eye test results, which is part of a process to allow motorists to employ the services of an optometrist of their own choice for eye tests.

“We have now consolidated our work with the DLTCs in the different provinces and municipalities.

“Expect improvement in terms of operating hours … ensuring that people can accept their driver’s licence at their own comfort.

“But we will still allow the walk-ins and cater for rural people who don’t have access to the internet.

“We expect to roll out kiosks and mobile units. All of this will be happening in record time in the next coming weeks,” said Mbalula.

“There is a whole bouquet of measures that will be unveiled piece by piece as and when we implement them,” he said.

New card to meet international standards

NDoT Director-General Alec Moemi said the new driver’s licence card has got to meet the standard of the International Organisation for Standardisation.

Moemi said in terms of the generated standards that have been agreed to globally, the NDoT has to move to a plastic card like the new identity document card that is issued by the Department of Home Affairs.

He said the material from which the card is manufactured is durable but also allows the NDoT to embed new security features into the card.

“The old [existing] one, which is laminated, is much easier to forge and in country like ours, the fraudulent acquisition of licences has been rife in the past and security features and technology available to the public is advancing at a rapid pace.

“State organisations have to ramp up security features to make sure that we are ahead of the curve of what the public can potentially produce.

“The assessment now is that the current licence can easily be forged with what is now available on the market,” he said.

“The inks are not that highly specialised and are now readily available to the market.”

Moemi said the new driver’s licence cards will be manufactured by the state.

This follows the Constitutional Court in 2018 ordering Tasima, previous operator of the eNatis, to hand over the system and its intellectual property to the NDoT.

eNatis, the National Traffic Information System, is the official register of vehicles‚ driving licences‚ contraventions and accident data in South Africa.

Moemi said the NDoT is hoping that the whole process to introduce the new driver’s licence card will be approved by cabinet by the end of June this year.

“The rollout plan could then commence soon thereafter and the first of these cards could be produced before the year end of this year,” he said.

First things first, says the AA

Automobile Association (AA) spokesperson Layton Beard said the driving licence card system is broken and needs to be fixed first before the introduction of a new driver’s licence card is considered.

Beard said the more pressing and urgent need is fixing the system so that the process allows the actual delivery of cards.

He also questioned whether there is a need for a new driver’s licence card and for the NDoT to share information about fraudulent driver’s licences.

“People are having to queue for hours at DLTCs and the online systems don’t function properly.

“People phone the AA every day on this issue. Different people [officials] at different centres apply different rules all the time and that is also an overriding problem.

“One day you might be lucky and you go there and say you are 62, please can you help me and they say yes but the next day they question why [should they],” he said.

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Absolute cretins, every man jack of them.

How about renewal every 10 years instead of 5 for under 65 year-old drivers. That would decrease the workload.

One best suggestion is to extend the length of time drivers licence validity @ least to 8 or 10 years, PRDP to 5 years, that will really help a lot. Actually that is long long overdue, it should have been done during Marc Maharaj’s turnier anyway let it be done at once.

Yes, but it would also decrease their income.

Schabir Shaik must be in on this one, since he got shafted on the last one!

“looking at launching and rolling out the new card before the end of this year”
Must be the same “imminent” as the E-Toll decision, ne?

We can expect the bribery and corruption from this project to help refinance an almost bankrupt ANC….

New diver’s licence is just an excuse for increased tariffs and more tender fraud. A new card will fix nothing and only justify billions being spent on new equipment costing millions.

Oh dear… another scam to create a few millions for the cadre clique.

I’m sure it will all work just fine. YEAH RIGHT.

The place to start is to remove this assinine requirement of renewal every 5 years.
That renewal is just a moneymaking machine for everybody other than the licensee.

I had to endure 3 extra visits to Marlboro because their equipment failed to capture my finger prints with sufficient resolution.

Mine just says “no fingerprint” – partly because I was the millionth person to try it and it was so covered in grease and grime it just couldn’t get a reading.

Literally every obstacle here can be rectified by using technology and the web, instead of useless cadres.

We can have 24 hours service via web services and apps, pay via credit card and crush most small time corruption, queues will be a thing of the past, and efficiency will increase.

while working in Canada last year, I had to renew my local driver’s license. It took 15 min at a downtown registry early one Saturday morning (including a new photo). Five days later the new license dropped into my postbox. I renew my car license there on the internet and pay with my Visa. By contrast my wife renewed her SA license in Bedforview this year. 5 hrs with endless line ups and indifferent staff. The lady at the payment cubicle got up for lunch and left everyone sitting around for 45 mins. The problem is not the physical license it’s the process and people involved. Now we have to go through the whole process again to pick the license up. Incomprehensible waste of time.

The problem is not that the driving licence card is easy to forge. That is almost an irrelevance.

The main problem is that untold numbers of people (approximately 50% of all licences in some SIU investigations) pay bribes to pass the driving test despite being almost incapable of driving.

Corrupt licence examiners and officials with access to the e-Natis system are registering these sham passes as legitimate licences on the system.

We can’t trust the test, so it doesn’t matter whether the licence is printed on toilet paper or gold leaf.

Smells like tender fraud again . Who are the lucky ones ?

Maybe I am having a slow Monday. How will this new card improve or eliminate the level of inefficiencies at licensing department.

why is a separate drives license card even necessary?
this should be linked to our National ID, since they scanning the barcode they can then pull up any extra info regarding license type and driving requirements.

Probably big kick backs for the Procurement. Typical ANC.

Strange. Here in Cape Town getting the license renewed is not that big a deal. During Covid it was a problem. The Municipality made an appointment with me to collect it one SUNDAY morning and it was done.

Which government minister’s girlfriend will get this contract? How many family members are involved?
Yet another major scam in the making!!!! It never stops.

Why not start at the beginning send an official to every school and let every matric kid do their learners in school during the subject called life orientation/life skills.

That will reduce queues.

Perhaps the honorable Fikile Mbalula should queue for his own card next time, anonymously.

The first step towards improving matters in every sphere of transport should be to fire Fikile Mbalula.

This government….only good at dreaming up new rules and regulations and absolutely useless at implementing and / or policing the ones we already have.

They can’t even provide us with Passports because of lockdown, now new licenses – Wonder whose name was drawn out of the hat for this kickback

This is the man who assured airline passengers that they would be ‘compressed’ on each flight?

No Fikile, I smell the odour of corruption. Loud and clear!

End of comments.

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