The City of Cape Town notes the latest regulations gazetted by the National Transport Department, providing a longer grace period for expired learner and driver’s licenses.

Statement by Mayoral Committe Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith

Initially, when Driving License Testing Centres resumed operations in June, the national regulations stated that there would be a grace period for drivers’ documentation that had expired between 26 March and 31 May.

The regulations also directed DLTCs to clear backlogs in learner and driving license appointments that were impacted by the national lockdown closure, and to not accept any new appointments until further notice.

This prejudiced individuals – particularly those holding learner licenses that were not covered by the grace period – as they could not make appointments to obtain their driving licenses, and ran the risk of their learners’ expiring and having to repeat the application process at their own cost.

However, under the amended regulations that came into effect yesterday, 22 July 2020:

‘All learner’s licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits that expire during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020 up to and including 31 August 2020 are deemed to be valid and their validity period is extended for a further grace period ending on 31 January 2021.’

The City welcomes the move, because it likely means that we will be able to catch up with all transactions and start offering new appointment slots in time to avoid persons having to reapply for learner license tests.

To date, the 18 DLTCs in the metropole have concluded:

3276 driving license tests
5806 learner license tests
13 851 driving license renewals
20 556 driving license collections since reopening on 9 June.
Some are already in a position to start accepting new appointments, with the rest expected to start following suit from mid-August.

This is quite an achievement, taking into consideration that as many as half of our DLTCs were closed due to COVID-19 exposure since reopening.

It is also no small feat that we have not had any closures for at least two weeks – an indication that our staff and clients are growing accustomed to the ‘new normal’ and the various protocols that have been put in place to ensure their safety.

We have had very positive responses from the public, particularly about the extension of our operating hours that has seen most of the DLTCs open on Saturdays AND Sundays.

We have also used the weekend slots to accommodate individuals who are considered more at risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

The weekend operations will remain in place for the foreseeable future – at least until the demand for the services at the DLTCs stabilises.

The reopening of our centres has not been smooth sailing; it was a lot to become accustomed to, and we have received numerous complaints from the public – complaints which we have taken on board in a bid to help improve our services.

Our vision is to ensure consistently good service throughout our public-facing facilities, and while we are not there yet, it is something we continue to strive towards, even amid the challenges presented by COVID-19.

To the staff who have had to return to work amid the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic and the initial slew of facility closures – the City commends you for the service rendered thus far, and the significant strides made in the space of just over a month.