SA Drivers License Card making Machine not working: Department of Transport

Two letters signed by Sandiso Thutshini, acting head of the Driving License Card Account (DLCA) entity, were sent to Driving License Test Centre (DLTC) managers to advise them about the card machine breakdown.

South Africa’s motorists are set to face further driving license renewal headaches. This follows the breakdown, since 24 November , of “the ailing card production machine” that produces driving license cards, which means no new driving license cards have been produced for the past three weeks.

This could result in the department of transport having to, once again, extend the validity period of driving licenses that expired during the pandemic lockdowns.

The first letter by Thutshini to DLTC managers, dated 25 November with the subject line “Notice of Card Production Backlog”, said: “The DLCA hereby informs its stakeholders that there is currently a backlog of driving license cards due to the breakdown of the ailing production machine. The DLCA is currently attending to this matter.Both the Automobile Association (AA) and Organization Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) on Tuesday indicated they believe a further extension to the validity of driving licenses will be necessary.

“In the meantime, the Driving License Test Centers (DLTCs) are requested to encourage applicants to apply for a temporary driving license card. We apologize for the inconvenience caused and thank the DLTCs for their continued support and understanding during this time.”

The second letter, dated 9 December with the subject line “Update On Card Production Backlog”, said: “On 24 November 2021, the DLCA reported a card production backlog due to the breakdown of the ailing card production machine. The challenge with the breakdown in the production machine is still not resolved. The DLCA understands the frustration created by this situation and the team is working hard to resolve this issue.”

The department of transport did not respond to questions.

Already high backlog

The machine breakdown will worsen the already high backlog in the renewal and issuing of licenses following the hard lockdown at the end of March 2020.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula confirmed in August that, nationally, 42.4% or 1.2 million licenses had not been renewed out of a total of 2.8 million licenses that have expired since 26 March 2020.

Mbalula in August also announced a further extension to the validity period of driving licenses that expired during the lockdowns to the end of March 2022.

In terms of the extension, all learner’s licenses, driving license cards, temporary driving licenses and professional driving permits that expired during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020, up to and including 31 August 2021, “are deemed to be valid and their validity periods are extended for a further grace period ending on 31 March 2022”.

Mbalula also announced a raft of measures to reduce the driving license renewal backlog, including increasing DLTC capacity by opening two DLTCs operated by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), which were to operate seven days a week from 7am to 9pm and add 35 380 renewal slots per month and increase Gauteng capacity for renewal slots by 48%.

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