As part of a recent parliamentary Q&A session the minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande outlined the driver’s licence delay that had impacted South African motorists over the last nine months.
Nzimande confirmed that the delay in the delivery of driving licence cards was caused by a system upgrade on the licence production machine and a labour dispute lodged by the employees involved in the production of driving licence cards.
While the processing of applications for new licence cards and renewals is decentralised, all cards are issued by the Driving Licence Card Account (DLCA) – a trading entity of the National Department of Transport.
This delay affects applicants all over South Africa, with the Western Cape and Gauteng being most adversely affected.
“The production team worked overtime to address the backlog,” Nzimande said
“In January 2019, there was a backlog of 250,000 cards, which was addressed on 8 February 2019.
“As at 7 March 2019, there was a backlog of 194,000 cards which was caused by a delay in the delivery of material. This backlog will be addressed by 15 April 2019,” he said.
Return to do tests
Nzimande said that some members of the public have to return to redo their fingerprints, photos and eye tests, adding to the frustration of the backlog.
“The Department (DLCA) has been working on a recovery tool to retrieve the missing images (fingerprints, photos and eye-test) in some instances where we have been able to retrieve them we proceeded to produce and dispatch the driving license card,” he said.
“In those instances where we have not been able to, members of the public have been requested to return to the centres to redo their applications. There are also instances where cards had to be rejected due to cancellation requests from the DLTC or bad images sent to the DLCA.”
He added that the DLCA had opened a case of extortion and sabotage but that the office of the Directorate for Priority Investigation had issued a ‘nolle prosecui’ (a notice to abandon the prosecution) citing amongst others lack evidence as the reason for withdrawal.