• There are no extensions for vehicle licence renewals.
• Only learners, PDP licences, or driving licences which expired between 26 March and 31 December are valid until 31 August 2021.
• For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24.
The driving licence deadline for lockdown-expired licences is fast approaching, and many motorists who have left their renewals to the last minute are now trying to hustle and get their affairs in order.
Suppose your learner's or driving licence card expired any time from 26 March to 31 December. In that case, your licence is deemed valid until 31 August due to the severe backlog caused by the national lockdown during this ongoing pandemic.
However, many other South Africans are under the impression that their vehicle licences are also valid until the end of August. Unfortunately, this is not true, and if you have not renewed your expired vehicle disc, we are urging motorists to do so as soon as possible to avoid any more penalties.
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Then there's the case of law-abiding citizens who have gone the online route to renew their vehicle licences. While some have received their new vehicle licence within ten days, or just a couple of weeks, others have been waiting for months.
The City of Cape Town has recently encouraged motorists to renew their vehicle licences online and use the eServices, but sadly not even this system is working in top running order.
As with so many vehicle licensing issues, online renewals are one of the major headaches. One which we have received countless queries from desperate motorists who have applied for an online vehicle licence.
Readers have been waiting months and months just to be registered, then even longer to receive the new disc.
We are happy for the one out of ten that has a speedy process, but they are the minority.
When you register for the online renewal, you receive a confirmation email stating the reference number and amount to pay. All details are available, including the banking details where to pay.
Have you renewed your vehicle licence online and still waiting for it to arrive? Or have you had a good and fast efficient service you'd like to tell us about? Please email us your letter here, or use the comments section below.
One reader, Karen Williams, made a payment in September 2020, yet she is still waiting for her new disc. Williams says: "My understanding is that the new disc was supposed to be posted within five working days from payment, yet it's already been seven months, and three fines later; still no disc."
Another reader, Lizet Meyer, says: "My vehicle licence expired in August 2020. So after I made the payment, I just kept on getting reminders to pay.
"There are no notices informing the traffic officers that you already paid for your renewal and just waiting for the new disc. The fines just keep coming in."
Even after waiting all these months for the new disc, going to the licensing department for a reprint of the new disc, prorate fees are payable to extend the expiry date for 12 months. So in the case of Williams, her renewal date moved on from September 2021 to April 2022.
Readers that need to use the online payments due to comorbidities or any other reasons are advised to do so at least two or three months before the vehicle disc expires. There are still no guarantees that the new disc will be received on time.
The problem is not only with the online registration and payment, but from there, the new disc has to be posted. And, we all know the South African Postal Offices has their own challenges.
Now, it's stuck at the Post office. No one knows for how long as they don't even know it's there, just adding to the days and months you're waiting for the new disc.
Although the traffic departments' backlog is becoming less, a new rush of renewals is expected to start in June, spilling over into July and August.
Customers are urged to start the renewal process as soon as possible to avoid the July/August rush.
So what to do if you can't renew your vehicle licence yourself or have been waiting for several months for your vehicle licence?
There are various alternative options and people with small business who can assist.
JP Pater, owner of JP's Licencing services, and Tina Coetzee from Tina's Reliable Car Assistance in the Western Cape, are two such individuals who do vehicle licence renewals on motorists' behalf. They also offer various other services such as sorting out online vehicle registrations which have not yet been processed.
Pater charges R130 per transaction.
Coetzee says: "I started with my ID business seven years ago opposite the Hillstar Traffic Department. A few weeks ago I started a car licensing assisting service for our community.
"I came about the idea because many unemployed parents, single mothers with children in our community, had lost their jobs in lockdown were looking for work.
"I hire and pay people to queue on behalf of our customers (motorists). At the moment I have employed two single parents but as business increases, I would like to employ more people. I enjoy empowering people and give back to our community this is also why I started my business so that I may help others."
Driving with J9 | Did you know you can have your vehicle licence renewed via WhatsApp?
Change of ownership
Removing a vehicle from your name
Change of address
Personalized number plates
For those based all over the country, the folk at Chatback initially offered vehicle licence renewals via WhatsApp, only operated in Gauteng and the Free State. They are now also operating in Gauteng, Western Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Free State and North West. Transactions via ChatBack are also R250 each.