LETTER | It's time South African driving licence renewals should go digital - reader

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Driving Licensing Testing Centres should only be for first-time applicants, says Wheels24 readers.
Driving Licensing Testing Centres should only be for first-time applicants, says Wheels24 readers.
Lefty Shivambu

• South Africans are fed up with the driving licence system and having to renew your card every five years.

• Recently we reminded readers that your driving licence never expires, only your card does.

• Wheels24 readers Bev Moss-Reilly and Keith Moir share their thoughts. 

• For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24.

Following our recent reports that driving licences never expire, many readers have shared their opinions on this blatant money-making scheme since motorists are not legally compelled to renew their driving licence cards. Yet, if we don't, we lose anyway.

Earlier in December, I shared with our readers that your driving licence never expires, only your licence card does. With the Road Traffic Management Corporation making threats against motorists of unlawful arrests, it's imperative motorists make themselves aware of their rights and the rules of the road. 

Please read the following here about being fined for an expired driving licence card and what you should do.

Like everyone other South African, Wheels24 reader Bev Moss-Reilly is frustrated and airs her views about South Africa's driving licences and thinks it's high time our system goes completely digital.

Moss-Reilly writes: "In today's times where everything can be done online, and you can avoid standing in long queues where the chances of getting Covid-19 is increased, the following should be implemented with immediate effect. 

READ | Did you know your driving licence never expires?

I feel that the Justice Project SA's Howard Dembovsky should be on board with this, and even if this is rolled out initially with pensioners, it will make sense. 

Suppose one can provide a genuine certification from an opthalmologist (medical specialist eye doctor) valid for three months. In that case, the application should be able to be processed online to avoid visiting any municipal offices, stand in queues for hours. 

This should especially be open to anyone with any comorbidities, and then perhaps roll it out to others over time. 

For those who are unable to afford to go to an opthalmologist, or who may prefer to go to the municipality, they may have that option. However, for those who can do this, it should be allowed. 

This should be proposed and implemented immediately. The state would not be missing out financially as funds would still be paid online. 

READ | What to do if you're fined for an expired driving licence card

Another Wheels24 reader, Keith Moir, shares his suggestions and struggles of trying to renew his driving licence. 

Moir writes: "I am a pensioner who has struggled for an entire year to get a licence renewed because the "system" cannot read my fingerprints. I know of people who have waited three years for the same reason!

I want to pose the question - what are we actually achieving with the current driver's licence scenario?

1. It certainly does absolutely nothing to help with the horrific traffic accident chaos on our roads.

2. It does nothing to promote better or safer driving.

3. It does nothing to stop the fraudulent sale of motor vehicle driving licences out there.

4. It is an abysmal waste of time as people old and young have to queue for hours wasting precious productive time for this senseless "system". It must be one of the most inefficient and ineffectual systems for which taxpayers and motorists get fleeced time and again - in fact, with every transaction!

The only benefit I can see from this inane renewal system is that people go for an eye-check every five years.

Perhaps we need to treat it like the abysmal e-toll debacle and decide for ourselves that enough is indeed enough, and just refuse to renew licences until the officials bring in changes to which we agree, and that will positively lower the death toll on our roads.

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