OUTA calls on government to extend driver's licence renewals from 5 to 10 years
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has written to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, asking the minister to consider changing the driver’s licence (DL) card renewal process from 5 to 10 years. The letter follows research conducted by OUTA on this burning matter.
“We believe that both the state and its citizens would benefit from a formal extension of the DL period of applicability from the current five year period to one of ten years,” said Dominique Msibi, Portfolio Manager at OUTA’s Public Governance Division. “This should save the SA consumer and government time and money as well as improve the administration and manageability of the renewal process by the state.”
OUTA proposed the following to the Minister of Transport:
1. That an extension for driver’s licence card renewal be applied from 5 to 10 years.
2. The extension from 5 to 10 years applies between the ages of 18 to 65 years.
3. That more efficient online application processes for DL renewals precedes the actual renewal, to allow for more effective service delivery and flow between appointment, eye test and licence delivery.
4. Multiple methods for DL renewal are made available through test centres and reputable service providers, i.e. stronger collaboration with neutral, third party organisations such as the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA).
5. That current restrictions applicable to Professional Driver’s Permits either remain the same, or are possibly extended as well, but that this decision be based on more extensive research and the inclusion of input from bussing and tourism roleplayers.
“The state is facing a growing crisis of legitimacy in its inability to address the backlog of DL renewals, which appears to be getting worse, not better. This in turn is spilling out into a crisis of administrative challenges that has the potential for citizens to be deemed as not acting ‘outside the law’, when driving without a licence, due to the state’s inefficiencies. The extension of the grace period for ‘expired’ DL is becoming the norm. We believe there will be no adverse impact on the lives of South Africans in the case of extending DL renewal to 10 years,” Msibi added.
In its research, OUTA compared the South African process of DL renewals with best practice internationally. The study looked at the following:
• Maximum period required before renewal of the driver’s license.
• Methods available to renew the driver’s licence.
• Old-age restrictions, demerit system and other regulations applicable.
• Concessions made and to be improved for pregnant and disabled drivers.
• Costs to renew driver’s licence.
While the current backlog highlights the need for improved efficiencies in the administration of DL card renewals, we sincerely believe it is time for South Africa to introduce formal extensions to the period of applicability to 10 years (as opposed to the current period of five years), as is done in many countries around the world. This in turn will alleviate the current pressures on the state to keep pace with the growing administrative demand, as well as enable the DL renewal administrative processes to be improved.