The Department of Transport has clarified that the announcement of the extension of licenses does not include vehicle licenses and license discs.

The clarification comes after transport minister Fikile Mbalula erroneously posted the that these licences are included in the extension on social media.

In a 30 November Government Gazette, an extension was given to learner licenses, driver license cards, temporary driving license cards and professional driving permits that expired between 26 March and 31 December.

In the gazette, government extended a grace period for these documents to remain valid until 31 August this year.

“License discs were not included. The extension was created to open up space for all types of license renewals, updates and makes at DLTCs responding to the backlog created by the lockdown period,” the department said in a statement.

Growing concern 

The Minister of Transport’s refusal to extend the validity period for vehicle licences in South Africa will lead to dangerous queues and severe backlogs at licensing centres in South Africa, says Justice Project South Africa chairperson Howard Dembovsky.

This has been cited as a concern by both SARS and the Department of Home Affairs which both announced that they will be offering limited physical services this week.

Dembovsky told MyBroadband that licensing departments are under severe strain across the country.

“All the registering authorities in the country are under severe strain because of the size of South Africa’s vehicle fleet and because registering authorities have not kept pace with staffing to service demand,” he said.

“They do not care how long anyone spends in a queue. Motorists can expect longer than usual queues.”

This poses an additional risk of exposure to Covid-19 for those motorists who are now forced to renew their licences that expired following the initial hard lockdown in South Africa.

“Under ordinary circumstances, the queues at registering authorities are long, particularly towards the end of each month,” Dembovsky said.

“After the public finds out that the minister has misled them into believing that the validity period of their expired licence discs had also been extended, the queues will be longer,” he said.