The National Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA) has written an open letter to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, urging him to address backlogs at licensing departments countrywide.
The association says that “extensive administrative delays in document turnaround times and vital operational systems are drastically impacting motor-vehicle sales in South Africa”.
It says this has a “dramatic knock-on effect” in the industry, with many related enterprises unable to do business and “secure much-needed income at this critical time”.
NADA notes that while it welcomes the work that has been done in recent weeks to increase capacity across the country in support of drivers’ licence renewals, it believes that these efforts are only one link in a chain that supports the trading of new and used vehicles in the country.
The association adds that its requests to assist the Department of Transport (DoT) to address these issues have gone unanswered since August 24.
“Meanwhile, direct value continues to be lost across the motor industry value-chain, courtesy of lost deals from the simple inability of licensing departments to make transactions possible.
“The automotive industry is highly dependent on municipal licensing departments to license, register and roadworthy dealer stock vehicles, as these are key legislative requirements in the purchase and sales process of motor vehicles. The backlogs at these departments have resulted in a material slowdown in vehicle sales that could have been mitigated.”
NADA says document turnaround times at licensing departments have shifted from one-day processes to as much as a month or longer.
“The delays in issuing eNatis documents impact sales directly, and the shortage of face value eNatis documents is delaying vehicle registrations.
“Roadworthy test-centres also have delays in processing certificates.
“The consequence of the significant delays in drivers’ licence renewals – albeit beginning to be addressed – is a growing number of declined finance applications due to missing documentation and an inability for new owners to insure their vehicles.
“These issues are eminently solvable through capacity-building and other measures that the NADA executive team are eager to engage the Honourable Minister on.”
NADA says possible solutions additional to those already implemented by the DoT include the extension of the validity period of learner’s licences, driving licence cards, licence discs, professional driving permits and registration of motor vehicles for a further six to 12 months while the backlogs are being tackled.
“These quick, simple, and practical solutions would permit economic activities to function in the interim and to protect law-abiding drivers who are prejudiced by the current inability to renew licence cards or vehicle discs, or to register new cars.”