• The RTMC has extended the grace period for all expired licences, except vehicle licences.
• The extension applies to all learners and driving licence cards which expired from 26 March up to and including 31 August 2020.
• Motor trade number licences grace period extended to end of November 2020.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
Earlier this week, the Road Traffic Management Corporation announced that all licences (except vehicle licences) which have expired from 26 March and including up to the end of August, will be valid until the end of January 2021.
The announcement came on Wednesday, 22 July, after numerous calls to the Department of Transport for the grace period to be extended to 2021.
However, there still seems to be much confusion about the licence renewal extension.
The RTMC said in a statement: "All learners licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences, and professional driving permits that expired from 26 March up to 31 Aug 2020 are extended to 31 Jan 2021."
Here's what you need to know
The new law published in the government gazette states the following:
1. All learners licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits that expired from 26 March up to 31 Aug 2020 are extended to 31 January 2021.
2. All motor vehicle licence discs, temporary permits, and roadworthy certificates that expired during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020 up to and including 31 May 2020 are deemed to be valid and their validity period is extended for a further grace period ending on 31 August 2020.
3. Motor trade number licences that expired during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020 up to and including 31 May 2020 are deemed to be valid and are extended for a further grace period ending on 30 November 2020.
Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond
However, while this really is great news for motorists, I can't help to be concerned about vehicle licence renewals and why this could also not have been extended a bit further than the end of August.
Covid-19 numbers are still significantly high, and continue to rise, and most people still fear having to stand in long queues for licence renewals. Despite he fact that vehicle licence renewals could also be done at the South African Post Office if you live anywhere else outside of the Western Cape, the elderly and the ill do not yet feel safe enough to leave their homes and be exposed to possible infection.
I've also heard numerous reports from readers via email who can't get appointments for certificates of fitness (CoF) for company vehicles, even when trying to book online appointments way ahead of time. The backlog is too great and this will affect the renewal of vehicle licences and ultimately will see these only take place after the 31 August deadline.
This new extension should give motorists enough time to renew their documents, and to provide some space to Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs) to deal with backlogs, and prepare for new submissions.
The Automobile Association says it trusts government will monitor the situation with renewals closely and consider further extensions in the new year should the need arise.