Driving with J9: Here's what that 90-day extension means for expired vehicle or drivers' licences

License disc. Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond
License disc. Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond
Charlen Raymond

• Licences expired during lockdown has 90 days extension

• If licences expire from 1 June, needs to be renewed ASAP

• Not ALL testing/licensing facilities have reopened yet

My mailbox is in complete mayhem due to the article Wheels24 published earlier in June about the vehicle and drivers' licence card extensions. There's been such an influx of emails from concerned readers, that I have barely been able to reply to everyone. It's that many.

But before I try and clarify the confusion for everyone (further below), I need to get some things off my chest.

I've been a good citizen during lockdown, essential runs have been at a bare minimum, and there's been a couple of funerals of close relatives during the three months I have been home. Other than that, I have been home as my lockdown began before the official date, and it's been a challenging, long road.

My little one has had a bad case of cabin fever, and I needed to test drive the Volvo S90 I had for a day, so I hauled my family along for a drive. Even if it meant just going a long way for an ice-cream. My husband ran into a petrol station to grab each of our favourites, and then we turned the car back and headed home.

We were happy to get out, but the further I drove on the way, the more anxious I became. We haven't yet hit peak numbers in the spread of Covid-19, yet it's as if everything is back to normal outside, and there seems to be no more concern about the pandemic. Are we really that ignorant?

READ | Good news! Your expired vehicle license now valid for an additional three months

Clarence Drive is in my back yard, but the road out to Hermanus was packed. Fast food franchise driveways have reopened for business, fishermen and surfers revelled in the glorious sunshine on Saturday. Lookout points, and parking spaces all along the Whale Coast Route were crowded. Families were having picnics, and everyone seemed to be getting their photoshoots done during sunset as we made our way home. There were even several groups of 'HondaBoys' getting in some epic shots of their cars. 

I say again, we can not afford to be complacent, now more than ever. If you need to do something with your immediate family, or loved ones, keep it to a minimum and continue to practice safety measures, we still need to practice physical distancing for a very long time. Just because there's freedom of movement, it doesn't mean we can have social gatherings and parties. 

driving license name

Back to the license issue 

Earlier this week, the Department of transport and public works announced that all expired vehicle licences and drivers' licence cards, or learners' licences will be valid for an extended 90 days from 1 June 2020, provided these expired during lockdown Level 5 and 4.

This has caused immense confusion with motorists. If your vehicle licence, or driver's license card, or learner's licence has expired any time from 26 March to 31 May, you have 90 days (three months) to have it renewed from 1 June. This means your expired vehicle or driver's card, or learner's licence is still deemed valid even though it has expired.

So what does this mean?

Just like you would have 21-days grace to renew your vehicle licence under normal circumstances when it expired before the global pandemic, you now have 90 days grace from 1 June to have it renewed - but ONLY if your licences expired during this mentioned period (26 March to 31 May).

HOWEVER, if your vehicle licence or driver's licence card expired or expires after 1 June, the usual periods apply, and you will need to have it renewed as soon as possible - provided your nearest testing centre is already open. 

It's also important to note that not ALL driving licence testing centres and public vehicle testing stations are yet operational, so it also contradicts the rule of the 90-validity if your licence expires from 1 June. While only a few centres reopened on June 1, several others will resume business as of 9 June, and others will reopen during the course of the weeks thereafter. Best would be to call your nearest centre and find out if they are indeed open before you venture out, but don't wait until the end of the 90 days before renewing your documents.

If you're still unclear about the 90-day extension, please drop us an email here.

To iterate here's what the Department announced

"Government Notice 544, published by the National Department of Transport on 20 May, 2020, provides that learner's licences, driving licences, motor vehicle licence discs, temporary permits, roadworthy certificates and professional driving permits that expired in the period from 26 March, 2020, up to and including 31 May, 2020, are deemed to be valid, and their validity period is extended by a further 90 days from 1 June 2020.

license disc

Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond

"The same notice provides that motor trade number licences that expired in the period from 26 March 2020 up to and including 31 May 2020 are deemed to be valid and extended for six months from the date of publication of the notice (i.e., six months from 20 May 2020).

"Government Notice 493 published by the National Department of Transport on 4 May 2020 provides that public transport operating licences and tourist transport service accreditation certificates that expired during the lockdown are deemed to be valid and holders have a grace period of 90 days to renew these documents from the date of publication of the notice (i.e. 90 days from 4 May 2020).

"The public is advised that, with effect from 1 June 2020, the standard validity and renewal periods that apply to all the above mentioned documents will be in effect again."

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