• The RTMC has extended the grace period for all expired 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
The Road Traffic Management Corporation has announced that all 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.
Wheels24's Janine Van der Post says: "This is such great news for all motorists. Everyone can now breathe a sigh of relief to have their legal road documents renewed. I am particularly happy for the elderly, and ill, who have been most concerned about the legality of their expired driving licences.
"I am also relieved for the thousands of learner licence holders who have been devastated about being turned away with no hope in sight, and who can now try to get those appointments booked online or at testing centres.
"The AA has been rallying the drive to #ExtendTheLicence with an online petition which saw more than 20 000 signatures within a week in a bid to get government to extend the grace period for expired licences to January 2021. We are pleased that their efforts have paid off."
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."
The new law published in the government gazette states the following:
"In these directions, the "Directions" means the directions on measures to address, prevent, and combat the spread of Covid-19: determination of extension for validity period of learners licences, driving licence cards, licence discs, professional driving permits and registrations of motor vehicles, published under government notice No.544, in Government Gazette No.43339 of 20 May 2020:
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 Jan 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
Earlier in June, the RTMC announced: "All Learner's Licences, driver's licences, motor vehicle licence discs, temporary permits, roadworthy certificates and professional driving permits (PrDPs) that expired during the period that commenced from 26 March to 31 May, are deemed valid and their validity period is further extended with 90 days from 1 June to 31 August 2020".
Willem Groenewald, CEO of the AA, said: "As the champion of South African motorists we are elated at this move. It's great news for motorists who have been worried about being legal on the road in the face of mounting backlogs with renewals.
"We applaud the government and the RTMC for making this decision which, ultimately, is the right way forward. We also want to thank the Minister for being responsive to motorists’ needs during this difficult time and for taking this pragmatic step."
However, the Automobile Association launched a petition earlier in July calling for the validity period to be extended beyond 31 August to the end of January 2021 to 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.
O Friday (17 July) the Transport Department Director-General, Alec Moemi, acknowledged the challenges at DLTCs.
These include working with reduced staff and being intermittently shut down due to Covid-19.
The Department of Transport has confirmed the decision to extend to the end of November.
The AA says as part of its ongoing advocacy work matters such as the licence extension and other important issues which affect South African motorists will continue to be a priority for the Association, and that it's only through the strength of a committed Member base that this work is possible.
"Tens of thousands of concerned South Africans signed our online petition which urged the government to extend the period. At the time we noted that motorists want to be compliant and what to remain legally on the road but that they were experiencing problems doing so. We must thank all of these motorists for being active citizens and for playing their role," says Groenewald.
The AA says it trusts government will monitor the situation with renewals closely and consider further extensions in the new year should the need arise.
"We believe much can be done between now and the end of January to clear backlogs but if there are still issues with renewals at that time, government will need to consider a further extension beyond the end of January to ensure everyone is accommodated fairly," Groenewald says.
The AA says the extension is giving motorists some breathing space in terms of renewals but it urges all motorists with expired licences to not waste the opportunity and to get these renewed sooner rather than later.