Voice of the Cape

From the news desk

Driving Licence Testing Centres hamstrung by national inefficiencies: City

The City of Cape Town says it is at its wit’s end about ongoing problems in the application and issuing of learner’s and driving licences that are affecting operations at Driving Licence Testing Centres across the country.

Members of the public waiting for their driving licence cards are likely to experience more delays in the issuing of these documents as the situation at the Driving Licence Card Account (DLCA) in Pretoria has yet to see any significant improvement. While the processing of applications for new licence cards and renewals is decentralised, all cards are issued by the DLCA, a trading entity of the National Department of Transport. This delay will therefore affect applicants all over South Africa.

Issues with the system date back to July 2018 following four months of industrial action, which was then followed by damage to the interface between the card production facility and the National Traffic information system (NaTIS) following annual maintenance. This has caused nationwide delays, with provinces like the Western Cape and Gauteng being most adversely affected.

Another issue which is causing major delays is the functioning of the Live Enrolment Units (LEUs), used to perform eye tests for learner’s and driving licence applications and card renewals.

The LEUs which are in use countrywide are in serious need of software upgrades and often have to be rebooted several times a day. The technical assistance required from the DLCA is lacking and further compounds the problem. Without eye tests, licence and card applications cannot be completed. Applicants are also not allowed to provide letters from optometrists in lieu of the eye test.

“The result is long queues and long waiting times, causing frustration among applicants, but also for staff at the DLTCs who are having to bear the brunt of issues that are not of their making,” said the City of Cape Town’s Mayco member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.

The Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works has been in engagement with its counterparts at the National Department of Transport, the DLCA and the RTMC to urgently address the issues that hinder the City’s ability to provide this service to members of the public.

To date, various commitments have been made but little progress has been made by the National Department of Transport to effectively address these very urgent issues.

Drivers who apply for a driving licence card renewal on or before the expiry date pay R140 for the new card. They may continue to drive for a maximum of three months, provided they are in possession of their application receipts and their old cards.

Drivers who apply after their licences have expired pay R140 for the new card, and must also apply for a temporary licence at an additional cost of R45. Temporary driving licences are valid for six months. Should drivers not have received their new licence cards, having applied for them timeously and experiencing an unreasonable delay, they will have to obtain a temporary licence. In the event that a temporary licence expires, a second one must be applied for, although costs for this application will be waived.

The DLCA has implemented an SMS shortcode (33214) that allows driving licence card applicants to check the status of their applications. You need to send your ID number to 33214 via SMS and will receive a return message with one of the following:

Status Message
Order not received & Unknown ID -DLCA does not have an application for this ID number
Order received by CPF – Dear [Initials],[Surname] – your order has been received and is awaiting production
Order in production -Dear [Initials],[Surname] – your order is currently in production
Order produced & posted – Dear [Initials],[Surname] – your order cards has been produced. Kindly wait for collection SMS

“We are aware of the frustration that is being experienced daily as a result of this failure by the National Department of Transport and its agencies, but we would like to assure the citizens of the Western Cape that we are doing all that we can to mitigate the inconvenience, and find a permanent solution to the issues currently plaguing the system.” VOC

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