Here’s why your car licence renewal could be delayed
THE ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has overwhelmed many private and government sectors in South Africa, and the Department of Transport (DoT) is no exception.
Due to restrictions during the hard lockdown months 2.7million vehicle licences expired across the country.
With the closure of many traffic departments – due to positive Covid-19 cases – and difficult access for people with comorbidities, over 800 000 of those expired licences remain outstanding.
This is just one of the many factors which have created a massive backlog with regards to the processing at the licensing offices, said Chris Cousens, the MD of CarLicence.co.za, a private licence renewal service.
The service has come under fire recently after some users experienced delays.
Cousens said the massive problem had been further exacerbated by the DoT’s Covid-19 strategy plans which are aimed at keeping staff and customers safe.
“The department has divided its staff into teams to ensure redundancy and continuity should a Covid case be picked up. One of the teams are on duty one week while another team will be on duty the following week. This not only ensures that if there is a Covid-19 outbreak among the one group that there is another group that is unaffected and able to continue processing but also reduces the amount of staff that are in the building,” he said.
However, he said this obviously has slowed down the process.
Cousens, whose organisation has teamed up with Caxton Local Media, to assist the public with the licensing renewal process, said the fact that the South African Post Office has taken over the SASSA payments has also put a strain on the licence renewal ecosystem.
“People are avoiding the post offices as they do want to stand in the queue, which in turn puts pressure on the other bodies, such as ourselves,” he said.
Cousens said it is not only the issues at the licensing departments. Often delays occur when the person has outstanding fines, or the licence has expired and there are outstanding penalties or if there are outstanding documents.
Then there are instances where supporting documentation is required and these are not received in a usable format.
“We have had cases where ID photos are cut off, or the proof of address is older than three months. The correct documents will have to be sent and any outstanding fines or penalties need to be paid before the process can be completed,” he explained.
“We process thousands of renewals everyday and with these difficult times we urge people to exercise some forward planning. Do not leave things until the last minute and ensure that all the documentation is correct. This will help us ensure that we provide you with the best service and the quickest turnaround time we possibly can,” he said.
Cousens said only a small amount of individuals have experienced issues and the average turnaround time in KwaZulu-Natal is around 10 working days.
“We are pushing as hard as we can, and we are truly passionate about this service which we feel is unbelievably valuable and important to help keep people safe in this current environment,” he added.
While there might still be a few delays, it is certainly worthwhile to use the service to skip the queues amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.