UPDATE | Minister deletes tweets, extended February grace period is not valid

Driving Licensing Testing Centres should only be for first-time applicants, says Wheels24 readers.
Driving Licensing Testing Centres should only be for first-time applicants, says Wheels24 readers.
Lefty Shivambu
UPDATE: Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced another extension for vehicle, learner and driving licences. This extension was never documented in the Goverment Gazette and Mbalula has since deleted his tweets.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced another extension for learner and driving licences, and this time also vehicle licences.

Mbalula announced earlier at Cape Town International Airport on Thursday (31 December), and posted on his social media account: "In order to ease the pressure on motorist and to allow sufficient time for authorities to clear the backlogs as a consequence of the earlier restrictions, we have extended the validity of learner's and driver's licences, vehicle licences, professional driving permits, operating licences, accreditation certificates for tourist services."

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

Mbalula has since deleted his tweets earlier in January, after announcing another extension which was never documented in the Government Gazette to deem it valid.

It's all a big mess because what happens to all those motorists who have been charged exorbitant penalties and paid their expired vehicle licences in the interim?

The extension for driving and learner licences should have included vehicle licences from the onset with the initial extension.

South Africa will need more than just two months to recover from the pandemic - provided citizens adhere to strict protocols. February will arrive in the blink of the eye, and we'll still be sitting with the same problem for licences which expire from March 2021.

While it's advisable for South Africans to rather stay home and be safe during these next few weeks, motorists will wait until August, and the backlog would not have been eased. A much longer extension is needed, for all licences, at least until we're safely out of the woods.

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