Relief for motorists as validity of learner's, driver's and vehicle licences extended

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Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
  • The validity of licences  including learner's, driver's, vehicle and operating licences  has been extended.
  • There are no changes to the loading capacity of taxis on short- and long-distance trips.
  • With the change of the curfew under the new adjusted Level 3 regulations, all airlines will have to revise their flight schedules.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on Thursday announced another extension on the validity of learner's and driver's licences, vehicle licences, professional driving permits, operating licences and accreditation certificates for tourist services.

This further extension is to allow for authorities to clear backlogs as a consequence of earlier lockdown restrictions.

"All those that have expired between 26 March 2020 up to 31 December 2020 and up to 28 February 2020 in respect of operating licences, will be deemed valid up to and including 31 August 2021," Mbalula said.

READ HERE | Medical staff welcome ‘balanced’ level 3, but ‘what about taxis, resource crisis’?

On Monday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would be moving back to Level 3 of the Covid-19 lockdown with a number of adjusted regulations.

This move was in response to the increase in Covid-19 infections amid the festive season.

Airline schedules revised

Among the promulgated regulations gazetted on Tuesday, the curfew was adjusted to 21:00 to 06:00.

Mbalula said the new curfew times would have a direct impact on airline schedules.

Under the new adjusted Level 3 regulations, with the adjustment of the curfew, all airlines will have to revise their flight schedules.

"As a consequence, the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has already issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) advising all airlines to consider the curfew in revising their schedule," Mbalula said.

"The implication is that both domestic and international flights must revise their flight schedules accordingly."

READ | A R1,500 fine for not wearing a mask – and double that for breaking curfew

Mbalula said all international travellers are still obligated to provide a valid negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test certificate, obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel from an accredited laboratory.

The minister added that South African authorities reserve the right to verify the authenticity of presented PCR or Covid-19 test certificates.

Public transport

Mbalula said there were no changes to the public transport regulations which allows taxis to load 100% capacity for short trips and 70% loading capacity for long-distance taxis and buses.

"Taking into consideration that many people will be travelling long distances to return to their places of work during the first weeks of January, we have placed a proposal on the table to allow long-distance buses and taxis to complete their journeys should these fall within the curfew hours.

"We are still in consultation with relevant authorities on this matter."

Transportation of liquor

With the prohibition of alcohol returning for a third time since the lockdown was enforced in March, the minister listed the transportation exceptions.

According to the Disaster Management Act regulations:
  • The transportation of liquor to ports for export purposes is permitted.
  • The transportation of liquor from manufacturing plants to storage facilities is permitted. However, such transportation may not be for the purpose of selling, dispensing and distribution to customers.
  • Transportation of industrial alcohol for cleaning and personal protective purposes is permitted.

Maritime transport

There has also been no change to the directives regulating the movement of ships.

"The ban on passenger vessels and cruise liners remains in place, and only vessels bringing in cargo and small vessels are allowed to call on our ports," Mbalula said.

"Crew changes are permitted in line with the current directions.

"The adjusted Level 3 means that we must maintain a delicate balance between enabling economic activity and arresting the spread of the virus.

"Our commitment to preservation of human life, informs the nature of the restrictions, while we remain mindful of the need to sustain the economy."

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