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Drivers licence machine broke down… again!

driving licence machine breaks down

The only drivers licence card printing machine in South Africa breaks down — once again.

The only machine in South Africa capable of printing drivers licence cards has malfunctioned, and the Department of Transport estimates that fixing it will take between two and three weeks.

The department stated in a statement that was released on Wednesday that the breakdown occurred after “routine maintenance.”

The driver’s licence card printing machine in South Africa has experienced significant downtime on multiple occasions over the course of the past two years, which has resulted in significant backlogs.

The department guaranteed that the production of drivers licence cards would not be impacted in any way by routine maintenance.

South Africans found out that their nation only had one printing machine shortly after the news of the first blackout spread throughout the country.

Layton Beard, a spokesperson for the Automobile Association of South Africa, explained that there is only one machine in the country because the government does not want to provide corrupt officials with an opening to flood the country with fraudulent drivers licences.

According to Beard, despite the proactive measures taken by the Department of Transport to root out corruption at Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs), problems still exist within the ranks of the department itself.

Beard emphasised the importance of avoiding a scenario in which the DLTCs are responsible for printing drivers licences and identification cards.

“There is a possibility that you will find yourself in a more difficult situation as a result of illegal driving licence cards that are currently in circulation.”

Driving licence machine a ‘skorokoro’

Fikile Mbalula, who was serving as South Africa’s transport minister at the time, explained that the country’s printing machine at the time was quite outdated and was likely the only one that was still in use and is supported by its German manufacturer.

Mbalula stated that South Africa would soon be getting a redesigned driver’s licence card as well as new machines to go along with it.

drivers licence card machine breaksdown

Mbalula stated that the approval of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet was the only obstacle that remained in the way of the introduction of the new driver’s licence cards the previous year.

At the beginning of September 2022, Cabinet gave its final approval to the new drivers licence card, and Mbalula stated that the new system would enter its pilot phase in November 2023.

Mbalula stated that the existing licence card and printing machine would be retired on April 1, 2024.

After that, there would be a transition period from the previous card to the new one that would last for five years.

On November 10th, 2022, the Department of Transportation released a request for proposals (RFP) for the provision of a turnkey solution for smart licence cards.

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This included supplying, installing, and maintaining a new machine under the terms of a contract lasting five years.

Outa, a civil action group, stated that the deadline for the tender was November 30, which was only twenty days after it was published; however, this date was subsequently extended.

It is unknown who has submitted a bid for the contract, and it is also not clear whether the contract has been awarded.

How to renew drivers licence

According to the SA government, you will need the following items to renew your driver’s licence:

  • Your South African ID, a copy of your ID, an old driver’s licence, or a valid South African passport
  • Four black-and-white ID photos (confirm the number of photos required with your local driving licence testing centre).
  • Proof of residence (such as a clothing store account)
  • Residents living in an informal settlement will need a letter from their ward councillor with an official date stamp confirming their address.
  • The application fee

How much to renew drivers licence

The cost of renewing a South African driver’s licence varies slightly by province. The approximate fee as of September 2021 is R140.00, but it is recommended that you confirm the updated fee with your local DLTC.

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