Motorists have been advised to apply for temporary driving licences while the Department of Transport battles a licence printing backlog caused by strike action.Ishmael Mnisi, the Department of Transport’s national spokesperson, said the department had been embroiled in a labour dispute with employees who were contracted to the Driving Licence Card Account (DLCA) since August 2018. Amongst their duties, the employees were responsible for the production of drivers licences.“We are pleased that the affected employees have agreed to resume their duties, pending the finalisation of the dispute at the General Public Service Sector Bargaining Council,” said Mnisi.He said the untimely dispute occurred during the annual production maintenance period, when production machines were serviced.In catching up with the July and August 2018 production period, Mnisi said the DLCA is now implementing a contingency plan to recover the lost production time and adhere to standard production practices.By Friday last week, over 800 000 cards were printed with over 500 000 cards dispatched.However, the current production backlog sits at 90 000 cards.Mnisi said these orders have been prioritised to be printed in the next three weeks.As an interim measure, he advised motorists to apply for temporary driving licence cards, which are valid for six months. This will ensure that motorists comply with traffic regulations.Meanwhile, KZN Transport Department spokesperson, Mluleki Mntungwa, said the provincial department has sent a request to Minister Blade Nzimande asking that those with expired temporary licences be allowed to extend their temporary licences without having to pay again.This follows criticism from motorists whose temporary licences have, or are in danger of expiring without them having received their permanent cards.“We sent the request last week and we’re still waiting for a response from the minister. In the meantime we advise all those with expired temporary licences to always carry them with them when driving,” said Mntungwa.He said he could not give an assurance that people would not be fined, but added that traffic officials were aware of the backlog in the issuing of licences.Applicants can also check the status of their cards by sending their ID number to 33214.Commenting on The Witness Facebook page about the delay, Lorna Anne Steele Leighton said she and her husband have been waiting since June for their licences and their temporary ones were about to expire.Monique Du Preez said her temporary licence had already expired.“I will not pay the R90 for a temp and don’t plan on paying any fines if I get any.“They won’t tell you over the phone if it’s there, you have to go there to be told try again in two weeks … They are worse than Home Affairs. At least they send a delayed message when something has arrived,” said Du Preez.Lisa-Anne Kearney Wade said she had applied for her licence on July 18 and is still waiting for it.Lynda Jane said she did her renewal early but claims that has not helped as she is still waiting.“I just hope by the time it arrives I am still within the three-month period after expiry date. I paid the R250 [for renewing] and I have no intention of forking out R90 when it’s not my fault the department has screwed up.”She said if the department asked people to take out temporary licences, it was “not on” to charge another R90.Celeste Rudolph Marais said this was the fifth month since she applied for her licence and she is still waiting.Thobeka Mdima described the delay as a “nightmare”.She was frustrated that she had been waiting since June for her licence.When she checked in November she found that a person who had only renewed his licence in August had already received his card.