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Severe driving licence backlog


The backlog is a result of industrial action that started in July at the Driving Licensing Card and Account (DLCA) in Gauteng

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MOTORISTS who have still not received their driving licence cards and whose temporary licences have expired may have to reapply for another temporary driving licence.

Frustrated drivers who have been waiting for months for their driving licences are fearful of festive season roadblocks, as they continue to drive without licences due to the severe backlog in the delivery of licence cards.

A labour dispute has led to a nationwide backlog in the issuing of driving licence cards, with some motorists having waited for up to four to six months.

In October, the Department of Transport advised all those waiting for their new driving licences to get a temporary licence. However, drivers said their temporary licences had also expired.

“I am scared to drive because I just know that some traffic cop is going to threaten to arrest me or fine me. I know several people going through the same issue. Thousands of tax-paying citizens who have paid for their renewals months ago are now stuck with expired cards,” said a local resident.

The backlog is a result of industrial action that started in July at the Driving Licensing Card and Account (DLCA) in Gauteng.

The DLCA is the only national government department responsible for the printing of all driving licence cards for both provincial and municipal licensing centres.

In Kimberley the issuing of driving licences usually takes three to six weeks for delivery of the new licence card but since the strike, some people have waited for more than four months. The wait may be even longer as the entire production team at DLCA has not been allowed to work until they sign their contracts.

“We have to take leave to apply for a licence renewal because it can literally take hours. But now, after having gone through the process and paying for the licence, we are still waiting months down the line.”

Many residents believe that there will be more traffic officers on the roads over the festive season, putting them at risk of receiving fines.

Municipal spokesperson, Sello Matsie, confirmed yesterday that there was still a backlog at the Kimberley Traffic Department for driving licences.

“Some people have received temporary licences, which are available immediately from the traffic section and are valid for six months.”

Matsie conceded that the current backlog meant that the temporary licences were also expiring. “However, for insurance purposes and the fact that we are coming up towards the travelling season, it is important that motorists ensure that their vehicle licence discs, as well as their driving licences, are valid. This might mean that they have to get another temporary licence but it is better to be safe than sorry because in the event of an accident the insurance might not pay out if a driving licence has expired.”

He added that traffic department officials were bearing the brunt of irate drivers waiting for the licences. “Unfortunately the situation is out of our control and is due to the national strike.”