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Driver’s Licences: Clearing the Backlog

16 September 2021
From extended working hours to introducing an online payment system - the Department of Transport has set out a number of strategies to clear the growing driver's licence backlog.
Drivers Licence Carte Blanche (2)

In a recent Parliamentary Question and Answer session, Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula detailed the Department’s plans to streamline the driver’s licence booking and renewal system while also clearing a backlog of approximately 500 000 licences in the national system. Mbalula’s announcement comes after several motorists were left frustrated by a licencing system that was slow, understaffed and, at times, completely offline.


  • Seven of the nine provinces are experiencing severe backlogs. The Department has extended working hours in these seven provinces, including opening testing centres on Saturdays. However, Mbalula did emphasise that the issue of overtime has proven to be a challenge in some districts.
  • The Department has already extended the validity and grace period of all learner’s, driver’s and temporary licences as well as professional driving permits  to 31 March 2022.
  • Gauteng poses the biggest challenge due to a large population. To alleviate pressure on the online booking system, an email service has been activated to assist drivers experiencing difficulties.
  • The Department is looking at implementing an online payment system.
  • Discussions are underway with the Health Professions Council of South Africa to allow motorists to make use of private optometrists who will then be able to upload the eye test results directly to the Natis system.
  • Ensuring better integration with the Department of Home Affairs to fast-track the validation of fingerprints.
  • Urgently upgrading and repairing hardware and equipment such as computers, cameras and biometric scanners.
  • Increasing the overall capacity in Gauteng by 30% by opening additional testing centres where staff will work from 7AM until 9PM, seven days a week. Should this prove to be effective, this work model will be rolled out to other provinces.
  • The new testing centre in Tembisa should help alleviate some pressure on the system.
  • Two busses will be used to serve as mobile centres for licence renewals.
  • The Department is also looking at rolling out self-service kiosks by October 2021.

Source: National Assembly