Saturday, 23 April 2022 11:03

Motorists still struggle to get licence renewal appointments as deadline looms.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

With the final driving licence extension set to expire on 5 May 2022, motorists are finding it increasingly difficult to book driver's licence renewal appointments through the online portal eNatis.

Motorists still can't secure appointments and have been booted out of the system multiple times.

These frustrations have now made their way to parliament with the opposition EFF complaining that it can take upwards of 30 days to confirm an appointment in Gauteng in a written question sent to Transport minister Fikile Mbalula.

The minister was asked why it takes so long to make an appointment on the online system – which is supposed to cut down on waiting time.

In response, Mbalula noted that the 'Queue campaign' is only applicable to Gauteng and can be used by the public to register to be allocated a slot at their preferred Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs) instead of visiting the website repeatedly to check for slot availability.

"The 30 days is the maximum period. The average time to allocate a slot is 7-14 days. In the event that the public needs an urgent booking, the online system allows for direct bookings at any DLTCs with availability.

"The major constraint of the booking system is the lack of capacity at traditional DLTCs. The minister launched two DLTCs that operate seven days a week from 07h00 to 21h00 which has increased available capacity by 50%."

Mbalula said the current regulations extend the grace period by 30 days from the date of the end of the state of disaster. This means affected motorists have until 5 May 2022 to renew their expired driving licence cards, replacing the previous extension to 15 April 2022.

The new deadline applies to all learner’s licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits that expired during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020 up to and including 31 August 2021.

"We continue to urge those whose driving licence cards expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2021 to renew their licence. The end of the state of disaster means we can no longer issue directions that extend further the grace period, "he said over the Easter weekend.

"The final opportunity is provided by the current Regulations which extends the grace period by 30 days from the date of the end of the state of disaster. This means affected motorists have until 5 May 2022 to renew their expired driving licence cards."

The transport minister is expected to address the media on the country's licence situation on Sunday (24 April), but it is not yet clear whether this includes a further extension.