The directive by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) late this afternoon to extend the validity period of licences which expired between 26 March and 31 August to the end of January 2021 is a major victory for motorists in South Africa, says the Automobile Association (AA).

The AA launched a petition a little under two weeks ago urging the government to extend the validity period of licences given the problems with renewals at Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs).

“As the champion of South African motorists we are elated at this move. It’s great news for motorists who have been worried about being legal on the road in the face of mounting backlogs with renewals. We applaud the government and the RTMC for making this decision which, ultimately, is the right way forward. We also want to thank the Minister for being responsive to motorists’ needs during this difficult time and for taking this pragmatic step,” says Mr Willem Groenewald, CEO of the AA.

In a message earlier today on Twitter the official @RTMC handle tweeted the directives which state: “All leaner’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 an including 31 August 2020 are deemed to be valid and their validity period is extended for a further grace period ending 31 January 2021”.

Vehicle licence discs, temporary permits and roadworthy certificates that expired during the period 26 March to 31 May are valid until 31 August, not those which expired after 31 May. 

The AA says as part of its ongoing advocacy work matters such as the licence extension and other important issues which affect South African motorists will continue to be a priority for the Association, and that it’s only through the strength of a committed Member base that this work is possible.

“Tens of thousands of concerned South Africans signed our online petition which urged the government to extend the period. At the time we noted that motorists want to be compliant and what to remain legally on the road but that they were experiencing problems doing so. We must thank all of these motorists for being active citizens and for playing their role,” says Mr Groenewald.

The AA says it trusts government will monitor the situation with renewals closely and consider further extensions in the new year should the need arise.

“We believe much can be done between now and the end of January to clear backlogs but if there are still issues with renewals at that time, government will need to consider a further extension beyond the end of January to ensure everyone is accommodated fairly,” Mr Groenewald says. 

The AA says the extension is giving motorists some breathing space in terms of renewals but it urges all motorists with expired licences to not waste the opportunity and to get these renewed sooner rather than later