Times up for renewals

Motorists with expired vehicle discs and driving licences are warned that the grace period for renewals stops at the end of August. And, the Automobile Association (AA) warns, government has indicated that no further extensions will be considered, putting even more pressure on motorists who haven’t yet renewed these documents.
But, says the AA, while time is up for motorists to renew these documents, time is also up for government to fix the renewal system. It again calls on government to find lasting solutions to the renewal problems, noting that the failure of people to renew these documents is mainly due to the broken system they are forced to use, instead of their unwillingness to do so.
The extensions that end on 31 August cover two periods.
The first extension covers the period from 26 March to 31 May 2021 and covers the following documents which expired during that time:
Vehicle licence discs
Temporary permits
Roadworthy certificates.
The second extension covers the period 26 March 2020 to 31 December 2020 and covers the following documents which expired during that time:
Learner’s licences
Driver’s licences
Professional Driving Permits
The AA says that despite the grace periods granted for the renewal of licences and discs, many people have failed to renew these documents, through no fault of their own.
“Government acknowledges that there are problems at the Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs) which renew these documents. Yet, despite this, no further extensions will be considered, meaning people are at the mercy of a broken system. These problems persist and will continue to persist until government takes a bold decision to replace ‘not repair or revamp’ the current IT systems along with increased human resources at DTLCs,” says the AA.
The AA notes that even though people have a willingness to renew their licences or discs, many are faced with excessively long queues caused by reduced staff at DLTCs, who often work with limited resources.
“We have received many emails and calls from the public complaining that computers, printers and eye machines are not working at the DLTCs. Reduced staff numbers makes the situation worse. In Gauteng the inability of many to access booking slots via the online booking system exacerbates their frustration,” says the AA.
The Association says the inability of many to renew their documents will, sadly, force many to drive with expired and invalid discs and licences because they don’t have choice.
“People need to be mobile for a number of reasons ‘work, children, emergencies. If people can’t renew their documents because the system isn’t working, they will not stop using their vehicles, they’ll use them with invalid documents. It’s as simple as that.
“We have said time and again that the current operations of the DLTCs need to be expanded, that the private sector must be roped in to assist, and that all current system across the country must be replaced. Failure to implement even one of these recommendations will result in continued poor service delivery to the motoring public,” concludes the AA.