The Democratic Alliance (DA) is alarmed at the reckless and unnecessary fiasco caused by the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula and his department’s decision not to extend the grace period for car license disk renewals.
On Saturday, 9th January, the Department of Transport released a clarification statement confirming that, whilst extending the validity of all learners licenses, driving license cards, temporary driving licence cards and professional driving permits (that had expired between 26th March and 31st December 2020) until 31st of August 2021, this extended grace period did not include vehicle licenses or license disks.
By so doing, Mbalula has recklessly disregarded the call by President Ramaphosa to South Africans to avoid any sort of unnecessary gathering, such as ridiculously long queues at licensing offices and post offices across South Africa in order to comply with a completely inane and unnecessary regulatory oversight from the Transport department.
The Covid-19 pandemic is literally ripping through South Africa with a recorded 21 606 new infections reported on 9th January and an average of 400-500 mortalities per day for the last seven days.
If it is so necessary for government to prohibit South Africans from accessing beaches, and enforcing strict curfew times, they should at the very least, meet citizens halfway and provide them with relief through other measures.
The current second wave of the pandemic has clearly presented a new set of circumstances that urgently requires new strategies, and not the ‘razzmatazz head-in-the-Moet’ approach we have seen until now.
In order to avoid deadly gatherings in queues, the DA-run City of Cape Town Metro has for a number of years allowed motorists to renew vehicle licenses online. It is a modern and efficient method typical of our approach to a people-centred government.
The DA calls on Minister Mbalula to avoid a Covid-19 tragedy and urgently extend the grace period for vehicle license renewals to the 31st August 2021. We also urge the Minister to move into the 21st century and immediately set in motion a process to get vehicle registrations across South Africa onto online platforms once and for all.
The DA will always advocate for modern, efficient and safe governance for the benefit of all South Africans.