Minister Mbalula now wants motorists to pay double for driving licences and card renewals

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Motorists queue outside a Licensing and Testing Department.
Motorists queue outside a Licensing and Testing Department.
Photo by Luba Lesolle/Gallo Images
 • South Africa's driving licence system is in a dire state of chaos.

 • The deadline for lockdown expired driving licences has been extended until March 2022. 

 • Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has proposed motorists pay R250 just to make an online booking.

 • For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has proposed an amendment to the Government Gazette, which will see motorists pay R250 just to make an online booking on the failed e-Natis system.

The proposed draft dropped quietly earlier in September, which will see motorists having to pay an additional fee, and that's just for the booking, never mind actual renewal or driving licence fees. For the past few years, the online NaTis system has been in absolute chaos, with its faults only brought to the fore with the onslaught of the pandemic.

READ | On or off? Mbalula says report of new online licence fee is 'false', but road ahead still unclear

Lockdown expired driving licence renewals have now been extended for the third time, and this only highlights the severe and dire state of South Africa's driving licence system. To this day, thousands of motorists are unable to book online licence slots for driving licences or even card renewals, yet now South Africans are expected to pay for this problematic service.

I urge all readers and motorists to please send your comments before 2 October and reject this draft. Details are at the end of this article.

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Motorists queue outside a Licensing and Testing Department.

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula has published a draft amendment to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) Regulations, 2007 in the Government Gazette Nr. 45085 on 3 September 2021 for comments. 

The draft amendment regulates fees that may be charged for NaTIS related services. An example of the fees to be amended is a fee of R250 for an online booking for the renewal of a credit card format driving licence. See draft regulation 2(3)(d).

The South African Institute of Driving Instructors says it is appalled and shocked at what appears to be the continuation of the ongoing attempt to extort indirect taxation from the motoring public.

SAIDI says: "The Road Traffic Management Corporation is fast becoming an organisation that the South African motorist and aspirant motorists cannot continue to afford. 

"Lurching from one blunder to another, the RTMC blazes ahead. The NaTIS system has been an unpleasant and constant presence throughout this. The NaTIS online booking system has, beyond a doubt, proven to be broken. Four years of piloting the system in Gauteng Province, in a manner that appears to be both unconstitutional and unlawful, has resulted in pubic unrest and protest. 

"To compound the matter, the Minister of Transport has seen it fit to publish an untimely and egregious proposal that we must now pay the RTMC R250 to use the NaTIS online booking system should we wish to renew our driving licence card."


This proposal will double the cost of renewing your driving licence.

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Zero slots available on the Natis system for Gauteng motorists

SAIDI says the egregious nature of this proposal is inexcusable, bearing in mind:

1. The NaTIS system and the online bookings system has already been funded from the public purse at a significant cost to such public.

2. The RTMC already receives a fee of R72 for the production cost of each card from the DLTC, sourced via your initial payment for the card.

3. The National Treasurer funds the RTMC and its operations in addition to the R 72.00 mentioned above. Why the need for these creative sources of revenue generation?

4. If this fee is approved, the licence holder will be compelled to pay the additional cost as the modus operandi of the process when the system is implemented at a DLTC. Only bookings secured via the online booking system are permitted. Traditional "walk ins'" are not entertained. So you will be forced to book online.

We still live in a nation where many South Africans are not tech-savvy and don't have the means to afford a smartphone to enable easy access. It also means the elderly will no longer do walk-ins on Wednesdays at most DLTCs in Gauteng. The unemployment rate is at its absolute highest in SA, yet the government continues to make the most basic of things inaccessible to all. 

"Compounded by the fact the South Africa is still struggling to shrug off the disastrous economic and social devastation that Covid-19 imposed on us, this attempt to exploit the motoring public is inexcusable.

"SAIDI urges all driving licence holders to familiarise themselves with the aforementioned proposed amendments and submit comments no later than 2 October 2021.  

So here's what you should know, says SAIDI

Question: From when will this draft be valid, or when will the new fees be implemented?

The Gazette is official from 3 September 2021. Minister Mbalula is issuing notice to the public that he wants to set this R250 fee. The public has 30 days from 3 September to submit objections to the fact that the Transport minister wants to set the fee at that amount.

After 30 days, all objections received would be processed, and then Minister Mbalula has to apply his mind to the matter. If he considers that the objections have no merit, he must then publish another Gazette, including the date that the fee will become legally payable.

Question: How much did it cost previously for an online booking for the driving licence card if it is R250 now?

Currently, there is no fee for using the online booking system. This is a new fee that the Road Traffic Management Corporation will charge when you make an online booking. 

This R250 fee is totally separate from the fee that the DLTC will charge you for the application.

You have two Acts of Law being used here: 
1. When you apply to renew your driving licence card at a DLTC, you pay a fee for the card as decided by the National Road Traffic Act No 93 of 1996. 

To process the application and have the card made, the DLTC uses the NATIS system that the Road Traffic Management Corporation owns.

2. The Road Traffic Management Corporation is a separate legal entity that owns and operates NATIS and produces driving licence cards. An Act of Law called the Road Traffic Management Corporations Act, 1999 (Act No. 20 of 1999 was passed by Parliament to establish the corporation.

3. The RTMC charges the DLTCs a transaction fee for each transaction done by that DLTC to fund its operations, and these must be published in an official Gazette, such as this one. Your vehicle licence transaction is also financed this way.

You pay the DLTC/Municipality/Post office to renew driving or vehicle licences, and they must pay the RTMC a portion of the application fee that you paid.

4. They have not charged the public for securing a booking online to date. It appears that they intend to do this shortly. This fee they are going to get the public to pay.

Comments can be submitted to either Adv Ngwako Thoka via email or to John Motsatsing via email, both of the Department of Transport Private Bag X193 Pretoria.

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