'I need to educate you' - Mbalula lashes out at critics over new driver's licence card machine

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  • Fikile Mbalula is mum regarding the cost of the new driver's licence card machine.
  • The Department of Public Transport is currently dealing with a massive backlog of over 400 000 applications. 
  • Cabinet will have to approve the new machines. 

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula lashed out at his detractors after a severe backlash over the new driver's licence card machine.

Mbalula promised to answer all questions regarding the machine on Wednesday - and even vowed to show members of the media how the device worked. 

The minister was questioned with regard to the controversial machine after a whirlwind assessment of the progress being made in upgrading Metrorail's northern line in Cape Town. The Passenger Rail Agency of SA has embarked on a series of station upgrades in preparation for the resumption of train services on the line.

The Department of Public Transport is currently dealing with a massive backlog of over 400 000 applications and can't issue any new driver's licences because the printing machine it uses is broken.

Mbalula said last week the machine was old and outdated and was undergoing repairs in Germany. 

"On Wednesday, I am going to take everyone to the driving licence centre. I want everyone to see this machine because no one knows how this machine looks," he said. 

READ | Metrorail's Central Line in Cape Town to be fully operational by end of July, says Mbalula

Mbalula added that he was aware of the criticism. 

"People are asking how can a country have one machine to produce driver's licences... I need to educate you. I will answer all the questions on Wednesday. I will show everyone the driver's licence regime in this country," he said. 

Last week, Mbalula said his department was introducing a new card machine which wouldn't need to go to Germany to be fixed.

"Once Cabinet approves that, new machines are going to come," he said

He said the breakdown of the current card machine occurred before plans could be set in place to replace it, causing a massive backlog.

Wheels24 previously reported that the same printing system, which was implemented for driving licence cards back in the late 1990s, was being used today. 

Mbalula's announcement last week was met with a stinging backlash, with the focus being the ongoing technical issues.

Despite the minister staying mum on the cost of the new machine, Cabinet will have the final approval. 

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