Opening remarks of the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, on the occasion of the meeting with the Gauteng MEC for Transport and Gauteng licensing authorities held at RTMC, Centurion on 30 April 2021 at 10h00
Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Jacob Mamabolo Director-General, Alec Moemi
CEO of the RTMC, Adv Makhosini Msibi Members of Mayoral Committees
Local Government officials responsible for the road traffic function
Since coming to office, we have been emphatic that arresting carnage on our roads is one of our top-most priorities. Too many people die on our roads due to, amongst others, reckless behaviour by motorists. Unlicensed drivers and those driving with fraudulent licences compound this problem.
Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs) provide an important service to our motorists, as they are an important support system to enable mobility.
We have been paying particular attention to the challenges confronting DLTCs across the country, and the impact these have on the livelihoods of those who require these services to put bread on the table. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare these challenges, most of which are a consequence of corruption in the system.
The additional pressure brought to bear by COVID-19 has amplified these challenges and requires of us to move with speed and deliberate focus in addressing these. We have taken heed of the plethora of complaints by members of the public and we are taking decisive action to address the issues raised.
The RTMC as a lead agency, is central in our interventions not only because it is the custodian of the eNatis system, but also because it is mandated to bring coherence to the traffic management value chain across all spheres of government.
The objectives of the meeting today are to take stock of the challenges and agree on decisive interventions, that effectively address the challenges facing Gauteng and its DLTCs, managed by local authorities. We will be engaging honestly and robustly as the three spheres of government on improving service delivery and enhancing efficiency in the functioning of DLTCs.
Gauteng is the first of these engagements as the challenges are more pronounced here, than in any other Province.
Learner and Driver licencing remain a pervasive challenge, particularly in Gauteng. The difficulties experienced by citizens in booking slots through the online platform is serious cause for concern. We are gravely concerned that preliminary investigations suggest that corruption is the principal driver of lack of availability of booking slots in various DLTCs across Gauteng.
This is a matter that MEC Mamabolo has addressed sharply with local authorities in the Province. We are firmly behind the MEC’s interventions and we are bringing our collective weight to bear in ensuring that these find practical expression at all DLTCs in Gauteng.
The RTMC, working closely with Provincial and Local authorities is looking into the matter and the interventions must deliver a system that improves efficiency, eliminates corruption and more importantly, modernise processes so as to eliminate the need for end-users to queue at DLTCs. Post our engagements, we will unpack the modalities of these interventions and commit to firm time-lines on the rollout.
In addressing the backlogs arising as a consequence of the COVID-19 restrictions during different Alert levels, operating hours for DLTCs occupies the spotlight and requires our immediate attention, while remaining alive to basic conditions of employment, which includes overtime.
We are paying particular attention to the rollout of online services in a manner that improves efficiencies and minimise the time the end-user spends in a queue. The ultimate end goal is to eliminate these queues, once the full bouquet of online services has been successfully rolled out by the RTMC.
Following the declaration of the State of Disaster due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, we issued Directions on the operations of DLTCs in an effort to curb the spread of the pandemic through these centres.
As a consequence, we extended the validity of vehicle licence discs, temporary permits and roadworthy certificates which expired during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020 up to 31 May 2020 for a period that ended on 31 August 2020. This period has not been extended beyond this date and motorists are expected to comply with the law and renew their vehicle licence discs.
Validity of learner’s licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits that expired during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020 up to 31 December 2020, was extended for a further period that ending on 31 August 2021.
Out of the 2,465,439 vehicle licence disks that expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2020, 90.3% of these have since been renewed. This leaves a total of 239,087 vehicles without valid licence discs on our roads. It is important to note that the Gauteng percentage of vehicle disc renewals stands at 89.6%, below a national average of 90.6%.
Similarly, out of the 4,856,636 vehicle licence disks that expired between 30 September 2020 and 31 January 2021, Gauteng accounts for 85.4% renewal, below a national average of 86.1%.
In a nutshell, of the 7.1 million vehicles due for renewal between March 2020 and January 2021, 6.3 million have been renewed. Out of the 900,000 discs that have yet to be renewed, 250,000 of these are in Gauteng.
We have taken note of the measures introduced by the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport and municipalities in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures include:
• Reduction of the number of driving tests;
• Reduction of the capacity of learner’s licence classes by 50%;
• Reduction of the number of Human Resources that can be on duty;
• Dedicating 70% of available resources to focus on Driving Licence card renewals.
As part of our deliberations, we will look at the challenges brought about by these measures, amongst others, and agree on the interventions that will address all the challenges, including issues relating to eye testing and related infrastructure.
I have no doubt that we will emerge from these discussions with decisive interventions that will set the stage for similar interventions across the country.
I thank you.
Source: Government of South Africa