More than 51 000 people managed to renew their driver’s licences across South Africa’s Gauteng province in November, after a major intervention led by member of the executive council for public transport and roads infrastructure Jacob Mamabolo following an outcry on a massive backlog.
Mamabolo expressed satisfaction on how his department, together with the Road Traffic Management Corporation and the Driving License Card Account, had made progress in cutting the backlog.
“In just two weeks, we have substantially increased the number of available slots,” he said, following a meeting to assess progress on a decision last month for Gauteng driving licence testing centres (DLTCs) to dedicate 70 percent of booking slots and capacity towards licence renewals.
During November, the department noted an increase in the availability of booking slots to more than 80 000 from 50 000 slots the previous month.
Subsequently, the number of people who renewed their licences in November jumped from 31 000 to more than 51 000.
Mamabolo noted the recent extension of the grace period for drivers whose licences’ validity was affected by a Covid-19 lockdown between March and August, but urged them not to wait until the last hour to renew them.
Announcing the extension recently, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said learner driver permits, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits that expired from late March up to the end of December would be deemed valid until August 31, 2021.
As part of new measures to deal with the backlog, the Gauteng transport department will introduce mobile driving licence testing centres across all five developmental corridors of the province.
It has also extended the working hours for all provincial testing centres, allowing them to open on Saturdays and Sundays.
“We are availing more capacity for the renewal of driver’s licences so that we decisively address the backlogs. As such, our DLTCs will be open during the festive season,” Mamabolo said.
The transport department is also finalising the appointment of a company to conduct a forensic investigation into widespread allegations of corruption and bribery at testing centres in Gauteng.