Motorists have been granted some reprieve as the validity period of vehicle licenses that expired during the lockdown has officially been extended to November 30, 2020.

Speaking during a media briefing on Thursday [July 16], Transport Department director-general Alec Moemi said that the period has been extended by 90 days to allow traffic authorities more time to deal with a mounting backlog. This backlog is a result of various testing centres intermittently shutting down after some staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

“The validity period for all public transport operating licences and accreditation certificates for tourist services that expired during the lockdown period will be deemed valid for a further period of 90 days. This is to enable the Provincial Regulatory Entities (PREs) and the National Public Transport Regulator (NPTR) sufficient time to deal with the backlog and allow affected operators to renew their operating licenses and accreditation certificate for tourist services,” reads the statement.

This decision to extend licence validity comes after much pressure from the Automobile Association (AA) and the public. The AA has been calling for an extension till January 2021, as they believe the initial extension to August was not enough time to clear backlogs. They even created the #ExtendtheLicence petition to garner support. The petition was launched on July 10 and according to Times Live, has already amassed over 18 000 signatures.

“The AA’s concern is that while the vast majority of drivers want to be compliant with the law, and renew their licences, they will not practically be able to do so in the given time frame. Our intention now is to petition the Minister to extend the validity period of all licences until 31 January 2021. We believe this will provide sufficient time to clear most backlogs and accommodate new requests for renewals,” the AA writes.

The AA also called on the Minister to allow third-party agents – such as the AA – to provide full vehicle licence and driving licence renewal services, through the government’s NaTIS system – to members of the public to:

1.     Make the process of renewals easier for the public

2.     Alleviate pressure from existing DLTCs which are struggling with demand

The City of Cape Town has opened 20 customer cash and motor licence offices across the metro thus far.

“Customers are reminded to only visit cash offices when absolutely necessary so that we continue to curb the spread of COVID-19,” said the City’s Executive Deputy Mayor and Mayoral Committee Member for Finance, Alderman Ian Neilson.

“Online options and the City’s e-Services remain key and we encourage customers to register to use e-Services if they have not done so already. E-services offers a range of useful options including electronic billing, logging service requests and applying to renew one’s motor vehicle license, among others.”

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