Driving certificate

SA driver’s license renewals are now digital, but you still have to go to a test center

• A new online driving license system was launched in South Africa.
• Drivers can now book slots online, pay entry fees and choose where cards will be delivered.
• Although the process may be simpler, there is still a massive downfall.
• For more automotive stories, visit Wheels24.

A new online driving license system was officially launched for South African motorists on Thursday 17 February. However, you will still have to visit a driver’s license test center for a crucial part. Although this currently only applies to Gauteng and some motorists in the Eastern Cape, the online system will be rolled out nationally as all provinces have accepted it.

In recent months, the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, had mentioned a bouquet of services that would be deployed across the country. On Thursday, February 17, Mbalula officially announced the launch of the online system, saying that these services will lead to a new service delivery model that will put the citizen at the center.

READ | Mbalula announces new driving license cards coming in 2023, but AA says more time is needed

The following services on the RTMC online platform are effective immediately:

• The online application, issuing and delivering a motor vehicle license and disc to the owner of the motor vehicle.
• The online application, issuing and delivering a motor vehicle registration certificate to the holder of the motor vehicle for financial institutions, operators of large fleets and car dealerships.
• Online request and payment for a reservation for the renewal, in person, of a driver’s license card at a driver’s license examination centre;
• Online application and payment for such a driving license card issued to the holder concerned.
• Provision of an electronic copy of an accident report.
• Online notification of change of ownership of a motor vehicle by the holder or current owner will be implemented in the future.

Of course, there’s a catch to all of this: even though you can make an online reservation, pay for your application and even opt to have your driver’s license card delivered, you still have to go to a test center in the driver’s license (DLTC) to get your fingerprints taken and pass an eye exam. Having an eye exam done by an optometrist will save you time by standing in one less line, but you’ll still need to have your fingerprints done in person. And while you can speed up the process from the comfort of your home, you’ll still have to visit said DLTC and wait in line.

South Africans living abroad with an expired driver’s license card will also find the online system unnecessary as they will also have to complete biometrics in person.

It’s also worth noting that the NaTis system was offline due to technical issues for motorists in George on Thursday (February 17), with online services going completely offline on Friday, just a day after the department and RTMC announced announced the launch of its service package. effective immediately. These are exactly the kinds of issues that make the new online system questionable.

Motorists line up outside a license renewal centre.

These new features are a step in the right direction, but again South Africans have to shell out more money for essential services and will be entirely dependent on IT costs, services and infrastructure.

A current backlog of around 2 million driver’s license cards has yet to be cleared due to the breakdown of the single license printing machine in November 2021 – at the time the backlog stood at around 1 .5 million. In late January, Mbalula announced that the machine was back up and running, with output of 400,000 printed cards per month to meet its end-April deadline. He also announced that new driving license cards would be introduced from October 2023.

However, driver’s license cards that expired from March 26, 2020 to August 31, 2021 would only be valid until March 31, 2022.

LETTER | Motorists using the online permit reservation system must pay another fee

Despite the new announcements, there was no mention of the additional R22 administration fee, which online users should add when paying R250. This tax was quietly added to the Government Gazette earlier in January and will come into effect by the end of February.

OUTA CEO Wayne Duvenage claims that online reservations for vehicle permits should not cost society much.

“We recognize the long-awaited arrival of government in the digital age, following the introduction of online services for vehicle licensing, change of ownership and driver’s license by the Road Traffic Management Corporation.

“However, going online should never lead to a massive increase in costs for the company. In the normal world, transacting online with any institution should be much cheaper than going to their offices, at the exception for delivery charges. The OUTA has opposed these massive increases in recent gazette notices. We believe there should be no increase in online transaction fees applied to these services by relation to the service rendered in their centers,” said Duvenage.

the Automobile Association says the development of online traffic services for South Africans is long overdue and needed.

“This development is an essential step for motorists frustrated by inefficient service delivery.

“There are, for the AA, two crucial questions which must be considered:
1. The cost of services offered online will be a determinant of usage, and,
2. The reliability of the IT infrastructure that supports these services.”

The Minister also acknowledged that the processes for registering vehicles, apprentices and drivers have long been an inescapable challenge.

Mbalula said driving license application changes for citizens from the time they book a learner’s permit until their license fades, and the same goes for vehicle registration.

driver's license

South African driving license

But why all this change?

Mbulala says the new system will eliminate incentives for corruption and take advantage of the technological revolution.

He says, “We made a bold decision to modernize our systems and ride the digital wave to improve service delivery. The era of long lines and service centers that close at 3:30 p.m., forcing workers to miss work to access traffic services, will soon be a thing of the past.

While the minister says motorists will be able to access most of the services they had to travel and queue for at a driver’s license examination centre, they can now do so from the comfort of their own homes and office.

According to the Department of Transport, this new process began two years ago to improve the experience of motorists.

Motorists will also have the option of choosing how they wish to receive their documents. RTMC will forward the documents to the post office closest to the applicant or have them delivered to the address of the applicant. This will eliminate long queues at the driver’s license center and save motorists time.

Perhaps an important addition is that the online system has also been enhanced to allow financial institutions, insurance companies and car dealerships to register vehicles directly on the NaTIS system.

Mbalula also says it will help tackle rampant crime associated with changing vehicle ownership:

“The benefit of these services is that motorists and private businesses will transact directly on the NaTIS, eliminating middlemen who fuel corruption. The additional enhancements to the system will allow vehicle owners to be alerted quickly if their vehicles have been cloned. Users of the will also be able to pay their traffic fines on the same platform without having to travel to different locations,” he says.

There are also two new DLTCs in Gauteng run by the RTMC in Midrand and Centurion; these centers operate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday to Sunday. We can only hope that these operational hours can be implemented nationwide.