'Why should citizens pay?' - Outa rejects government's extortion fees plan for driving licences

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The Department of Social Development's Green Paper, proposing a new National Social Security Fund, caught the retirement and investments industry off guard.
The Department of Social Development's Green Paper, proposing a new National Social Security Fund, caught the retirement and investments industry off guard.

Earlier on Tuesday, Wheels24 published the government's plans to make motorists pay an additional R250 fee to make an online booking for driving licences

Outa rejects the Department of Transport proposal to charge motorists R250 to make an online booking for a slot in the queue to renew a driving licence, which is over and above the transaction fees. 

The proposed change was gazetted on 3 September, in the draft Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) Regulations 2021, which amend the 2007 regulations. 

We believe the state must provide services to the public to ensure that society complies with various laws and regulations and that no service fees should apply if these were not applied for walk-in services.

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

The new R250 fee is explained as: "Online booking for the renewal of credit card format driving licence". 

The government's role is to make it easy for the public to obtain driving licences and to renew these when required, and OUTA believes the public is not expected to pay to enter service centres and queue to conduct these necessary transactions, be it in person or online. Electronic processes should make systems easier for both the state and the public who use them.

We cannot understand the rationale for the state charging exorbitant fees just to book online to apply to renew a driving licence. This is on top of an existing excessive administration fee of R72 per transaction that is paid to the RTMC to administer the national vehicle and driving licence register. 

This is nothing short of a money-making scam and must be rejected by society across the board.

We cannot allow the expected modernisation of the state's processes to be subjected to extortionist practices. OUTA will make a formal submission rejecting this unacceptable proposal.

The proposed regulations include a list of fees, including R700 for a motor vehicle's "online registration".

These fees are outrageous and unacceptable. Due to the abuse of state funds in the past by corrupt government officials, the state is probably unable to provide these services free of charge.

Why should law-abiding citizens pay for the government's inability to hold to account corrupt officials and claw back stolen funds?

The amended regulations, including the fees, are open for public comment for 30 days from 3 September.  

OUTA will be writing to the Minister to request the record of the decision that motivated the introduction of these fees and make a formal submission on the proposal. 

OUTA also recommends that the public should submit objections to the fees proposal. The gazetted notice, with details to submit comment is here.

The original statement was first published on Outa's website here.

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