Driving licence card renewals: What to do if you're not going to meet the deadline

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A driver's licence. Image: Duncan Alfreds
A driver's licence. Image: Duncan Alfreds
Duncan Alfreds, News24

 • The deadline for lockdown expired driving licence cards is 31 August 2021.

 • Motorists are unaware that driving licences never expire.

 • There is one way to to avoid or have an expired lockdown driving licence card fine reduced. 

 • For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24

The deadline for expired driving licence cards is on 31 August, and thousands of South Africans won't be able to renew their cards before then. 

Our Wheels24 mailbox has been inundated again with emails from motorists who are in a panic as they cannot get an online booking to renew their driving licences. Most people who are unable to do so are from Gauteng and cannot find an available slot on the online Natis booking system. Others have comorbidities and can't risk exposing themselves to the Covid-19 virus.

Many people have also lost bookings due to falling ill or because driving licence testing centres (DLTCs) were closed due to positive cases among staff. However, those excuses will no longer fly come 31 August when the deadline expires.

It's also important to note that only lockdown expired licences were valid until this date (31 August) if your driving licence card has expired between 26 March and 31 December 2020. If your licence has expired any time before then, or even after that from 1 January 2021, all you need to do is apply for a new card - you will not have to pay any extra late fee penalties, nor will any questions be asked at DLTCs.

For more driving or vehicle licence articles on Wheels24, click here.

To renew your driving licence card should cost R140 and an additional R45 only if you require a temporary paper driving licence (card). Don't forget to bring your ID, proof of address and the required photos (one for renewal, three if you need a temporary document).

Trying to find a slot on the Natis system has always been near-impossible anyway, and with most motorists scrambling to get a slot before month-end, chances are even more scarce. 

Southern African Institute of Driving Instructors managing director Robert Chandler says there is much work to be done to resolve the problems associated with the online booking system, NATIS and other matters; however, they cannot be resolved in two weeks.

"Your driving licence NEVER expires", says Chandler. "The proof that you hold a driving licence, i.e. the driving licence card has an expiry date; however, the expiry of this card has nothing to do with the validity of your driving licence."

Here's how Chandler advises motorists who won't meet the end-August deadline for card renewal:

What you should know when trying to renew your driving licence card

1. Make every attempt to rectify your attempts to comply and renew your driving licence card.

2. Document and record the process - i.e screenshots of zero slots with dates etc (print this all and keep it in a file in your car if possible).

3. Carry your "expired" driving licence card at all times.

4. If requested to provide proof of holding a valid driving licence, hand over your "expired driving licence card".

5. You will most likely be issued a written notice to appear in court with an option to pay an admission of guilt. This written notice will provide for you to pay an alternative charge of failing to provide an updated driving licence card.
Accept this written notice. DO NOT ARGUE WITH THE OFFICER. They are only a small cog in this machine.

6. In terms of the Justice system, submit a written submission to the relevant authority (details will be found on the written notice) and provide copies of the process you followed to obtain a new driving licence card, and request the withdrawal of the notice as you were unable to comply with the law due to circumstance beyond your control. 

7. The worst case is that you will be required to pay the greatly reduced fine for failing to produce a valid document.


Can't get a licence slot? Here's how you can get help for the troublesome Natis system

Driving licences: Motorists forced to become criminals due to an inept Transport Department

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