No ‘smart card’ driving licences for SA until next year

Fix the current system to allow for ‘the actual delivery of cards’ first, says the AA.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced this week that the introduction has been delayed until next year. Image: Moneyweb

The introduction of a new smart card driving licence by the Department of Transport has been delayed until next year.

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula confirmed this week the plan to introduce a new driving licence card will be submitted to cabinet for approval early in the new year.

“Once that is done, then we will announce it to the public,” he said at an event where he released the preliminary festive season road fatality statistics.

Mbalula confirmed in May after delivering his budget vote speech that the Department of Transport (DoT) was looking at launching and rolling out a new driving licence card before the end of this year.

DoT Director-General Alec Moemi said after Mbalula’s budget vote speech that the department was hoping the whole process to introduce the new driver’s licence card would be approved by cabinet by the end of June 2021.

“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.

Mbalula said this week the current driving licence card is about 20 years old and the DoT cannot remain static but has to “move with the times” and cater for advances in technology.

Moemi said in May that the new card must meet the standard of the International Organisation for Standardisation.

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

‘Easily forged’

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

“The old [existing] one, which is laminated, is much easier to forge and in a 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,” said Moemi.

“The assessment now is that the current licence can easily be forged with what is now available on the market. The inks are not that highly specialised and are now readily available to the market.”

Mbalula confirmed this week that the security agencies in South Africa have looked into the planned new driving licence card and the DoT is now heading to cabinet for approval.

“When that is done, we will launch it,” he said.

Renewal backlogs

Mbalula also expanded this week on plans he announced in August to streamline the driving licence renewal process for motorists, to reduce the backlog after reporting that nationally 42.4% or 1.2 million licences have not yet been renewed out of a total of 2.8 million licences that have expired since March 26, 2020.

The measures included increasing capacity by opening two Driving Licence Test Centres (DLTCs) operated by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) – one at Waterfall Park in Midrand, and the other at Eco Park in Centurion – on October 1.

These centres were to operate seven days a week from 7am until 9pm, add 35 380 renewal slots per month and increase Gauteng capacity for renewal slots by 48%.

More new measures

Mbalula said this week that new measures will be introduced in the renewal process “to make driving licences easy for everyone”, adding that the Waterfall DLTC is the model the DoT is now implementing.

“You get in, in less than 10 minutes you get out. Your driving licence is renewed. That is where we are heading to,” said Mbalula.

“Not this sloppy, inept, corrupt arrangement we have got in some of the DLTC[s] where to get a driving licence is a nightmare,” said Mbalula.

“You have to bribe before you get a licence.

“We are eliminating that in the system.

“If we do that, that is real service delivery and that is where we are heading to.”


Automobile Association (AA) spokesperson Layton Beard said in May that 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.

Moneyweb reported last week that on November 7 there had been a breakdown of the machine that produces the current driving licence card.

The DoT confirmed that as at December 1 there was a backlog of 383 000 driving licence cards because of this breakdown.

“The team is hard at work to address the problem. The team is doing everything possible to restore the machine to full functionality before December 31, 2021,” it said.




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This idiot is living in a Metaverse far removed from reality.

As example the area that I reside in has grown 5 fold in population over the last 15 years but the licensing facilities are exactly the same size as in 1990 with a present governmental attitude of employees to service.

Smart indeed — These clowns cannot fix a pit toilet !!

The minister represents failed political dogma that is 100 years old.

The country needs to move with the times and get rid of Luthuli House. We have a minister of transport who represents voters who cannot afford a car.

We need to get ahead of the curve and sack these losers in parliament.

When people bribe their way onto the database there is no point at all in having an advanced card. Horse bolted, close the gate quickly.

But this will deter the 17y olds from getting into the night clubs!

We all look forward to hearing which cadre got the tender for the new system. Doubtless we will have decided that our needs are unique and we need a system developed from the ground up rather than accepting a system donated by the Swiss or the Swedes or the Japanese.

With Mbalula absolutely anything is possible

Which cadre got the tender! Now you’re talking! “the DoT cannot remain static but has to “move with the times” and cater for advances in technology.”…. to cater for tendrepreneuship in Luthuli House.

In which case expect to see more of those R400,000 Rolexes like FIkile’s Rolex Gmt-Master II Ceramic being worn around the bling nightspots of Sandton.

This is how it all began with Schabir Shaik:

“On 21 May 1996, Nkobi Holdings and the French defence contractor Thomson-CSF went into a joint venture as Thomson Holdings, a South African company. It tendered for various contracts, among which the upgrading of Durban International Airport, a national identity card, road projects for the N3 and N4 highways, the third cellular telephone network, and smart card technology. A company called Kobitech which is part of the Nkobi Holdings group, was initially a one-third shareholder in a consortium (under the name Prodiba) to produce the South African driving licence card. The first card was produced on 2 March 1998, a contract that was initially awarded for 5 years, later extended and then renewed for another 5-year period ending on 28 March 2009. During the second half of 2007 Kobitech sold their share in Prodiba to one of the remaining shareholders, Face Technologies.”

Now seems to be Toppan FaceTech with a mix of Chinese (most) and Afrikaans directors.

Core businesses are:
– National Driving Licence Solutions,
– Motor Vehicle Registration Solutions,
– National Population Registration Solutions,
– Voter Registration,
– Member Registration,
– Pension Solutions,
– Cash Payments and,
– Secure Biometric Solutions

In terms of BEE they claim to be an exempted micro enterprise. Sounds unlikely if they are running any of those services for government! Have a tax number but no UIF number.

It’s interesting how much information is public on CIPC and other like SARS, yet the one thing we need to see in order to fight corruption is the true beneficial ownership of companies yet that is still sacrosanct.

As in : to the eventual warm bodies looking through trusts and partnerships and holding companies. Companies must do this for FICA so no extra work. In many cases major suppliers and customers ask for this already.

If not for all companies, then at least all private companies that deal with any level of government or SOE. Penalty for misrepresentation (proxy shareholders for example or outright fraud) must be severe : as in minimum 5y jail.

Regarding the opaqueness of directorships etc I see that the ANC salaries have been paid by Batho Batho Trust.

I researched the links involved many years ago when Shell was looking to frack the Karoo and discovered that Thebe Inv, Shell and the ANC and if I remember Hitachi are all in some way entwined. No doubt it has become even more so now. They own 25% interest in Shell South Africa plus a 25% shareholding in Shell SA Refinery and of course linked to Chancellor House.

Naturally these companies are all BBBEE compliant.

Their tentacles in SA banking and insurance companies make interesting reading

This is a good move. They is no need to rush. Only implement the new card system, once all the gremlins have been identified.

This will allow for a smooth transition from the old system to the new system.

Welcome back! Your sage and objective comments have been missed!

Jip – Finally a member of idiots anonymous !!

End of comments.



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