The Department of Transport announced on Thursday, 3 December, that all learners licenses, driving license cards, temporary driving license cards and professional driving permits that expired from 26 March 2020 to 31 December 2020 are deemed valid for a grace period ending 31 August 2021.
The amendment was published in the Government Gazette on Thursday, 3 December.
The Automobile Association (AA) says this is the right move given the current circumstances around renewals, and not wholly unexpected. “When we first campaigned for extensions we cautioned that any leeway of just a few months – as was the case originally – would only be a temporary fix and that a longer-term solution is necessary.This new extension is the right move but it is, in our view, still a temporary fix to a bigger problem,” notes the AA.
The Association says government must use the time between now and the end of August 2021 to relook at the current model of issuing and renewing licences with a view to providing a more streamlined and more efficient system to users.
“The current system, as we have noted before, is in shambles and needs a complete reworking and possibly even replacement. The backlogs now were not caused by COVID-19 but the issues around coronavirus certainly exacerbated the problems. If we come to the end of August next year and nothing significant changes from today, we will be back to square one in no time. We urge government to use this time wisely to fix a system which is, for all intents and purposes, broken,” says the AA.
In addition, the AA says the extension of the cards must be communicated to all traffic authorities around the country to ensure no motorist is penalised for non-renewal.