Driving with J9: Extending licence renewals is the only answer right now

A driver's licence. Image: Duncan Alfreds
A driver's licence. Image: Duncan Alfreds
Duncan Alfreds, News24

• Motorists are encouraged to sign the AA's petition to extend the licence renewal period.
• South Africans continue to battle to renew legal documents due to Covid-19.
• Learner licence holders are being turned away and told to restart the process of acquiring a licence. 
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za

The battle for licence renewals continues. 

There are still so many readers struggling to renew their licences; the emails are endless, so I'll continue to try and fight on your behalf, along with the Automobile Association, and the Justice Project of South Africa.

It's the middle of July, more and more licencing and testing centres continue to close as the Covid-19 pandemic spreads. Gauteng has surpassed 93 000 positive cases, and the Western Cape more than 77 000. Numbers continue to rise significantly in all provinces, so there's no surprise that gates and doors will remain closed each week at more facilities.

But expired licences now are having an adverse effect on businesses too. And, motorists or drivers in company vehicles who might get involved in motor vehicle accidents could face the risk of not having their insurance policies paid up as the requests to the government to consider an extension continues to be ignored.

No matter how we look at this, the only solution is for the Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to agree and extend the licence renewal period to the end of January 2021, and continue to monitor the situation as the country as yet to hit peak positive cases. 

Leaner licence holders are bearing the worst brunt as those whose licences have expired during the lockdown, and even after that, are told to merely restart the process. South Africans don't have money trees growing in the back yard, and it's incredibly unfair that these licence holders are just disregarded.

The Automobile Association has created an online petition on its website and is calling all South Africans to please sign it here.

Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) supports the call of the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) for Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula to extend the validity period of all licenses beyond the 30 August deadline. 

It also urges the Minister to consider doing the same in respect to professional driving permits and to give special consideration to the difficulties experienced by learner drivers, as a direct effect of the lockdown.JPSA chairperson Howard Dembovsky says: "Learner drivers whose learner's licenses expired or are still to expire after 31 May are particularly adversely affected.

"During the 'hard lockdown' learner drivers could not undergo any formal instruction through driving schools, which were prohibited from operating under 'Levels 5 and 4'."

He also asserted that the resultant demand for new tests for learner drivers who were affected by the lockdown would impact on volumes of applicants to repeat such learners' tests. 

Dembovsky says: "This, in turn has a counter-intuitive effect on social distancing, particularly in DLTCs where bookings must be made in person."

Regarding professional driving permits: Dembovsky said that the process to renew a PrDP is more cumbersome than any licence and where one has an expired licence after 31 May 2020, such demand for renewals will have a similar counter-intuitive effect, not only in DLTCs but in doctors' waiting rooms.

"We hope that the Minister will give the AA's and our requests his urgent consideration," he concluded.

toyota supra janine

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post is the first female editor of a mainstream motoring publication. She's a mega petrolhead, a wife, and a mother. You can send her your queries via email, here.

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