South Africans are scrambling to renew their driver’s licences before the 31 August deadline, but problems with the online booking system are causing frustration among motorists.
Last year, the transport minister extended the grace period to renew driving licences that expired between 26 March 2020 and December 2020 until 31 August 2021.
With the deadline now less than three weeks away, many South Africans are rushing to renew their licences.
Motorists are running into a major problem, though — they are struggling to get slots through the eNatis online booking system.
So severe is the renewal backlog that the City of Cape Town’s traffic service has extended the operating hours of its driving licence testing centres.
The city said that the extended operating hours would be in place until the end of August to accommodate the looming deadline for licence renewal extensions.
There are also allegations that individuals and organisations are manipulating the system and selling slots.
Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Jacob Mamabolo said they had appointed a renowned forensic investigation company to investigate the issue.
“So, we will be making an impact on cracking the syndicates and networks of corruption that are making it difficult for everybody to get a slot,” said Mamabolo.
There are also problems at driving licence testing centres (DLTCs), including system issues, equipment failures, and non-functioning booths.
This is causing applications to be rejected because the equipment the DLTCs use did not meet the requirement of the licence manufacturers.
Managers at DLTCs have indicated that outdated processes and workflows linked to licence renewals prevent them from processing the backlog efficiently.
Mamabolo admitted that the backlog and problems at DLTCs mean that Gauteng motorists will not be able to meet the 31 August deadline to renew their licences.
There are now calls for transport minister Fikile Mbalula to further extend the deadline to accommodate motorists who are struggling to renew their license cards.