Driving schools & licence depts to resume services next month

Driver's licence departments, vehicle registration and testing centres as well as driving schools are expected to resume their services to the public from 1 June

Under Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown restrictions, only essential workers have been allowed to renew their driver's and vehicle licences.

On Tuesday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said strict hygiene and physical distancing practices needed to be implemented for the opening of operations in the licencing sector.

Mbalula added all licences, including learner driver licences, temporary licences, motor vehicle licences, temporary permits, roadworthy certificates and professional driving permits, which expired between 1 March and 31 May 2020, were deemed to be valid.

"Their validity period is further extended by 90 days. Motor vehicle trade number licences that expired during the same period are also deemed to be valid and are extended to a further period of six months.

"Since our movement to Level 4 lockdown, we have undertaken a risk assessment on the state of readiness of driving licence testing stations, registering authorities and vehicle stations.

"We have determined that from 1 June as the date of resumption of their services to the public. It also allows driving schools to resume their services from June 1, subjected to hygiene and disinfection," said Mbalula.

He added from next week, he was going to outline how the government planned to offer financial support to the struggling taxi industry.

Taxis associations have been forced to limit their vehicles to 70% capacity to adhere to the government's physical distancing regulations.

"As a hard-hit industry, the government has considered and is now dealing with the modalities to say how we going to contribute and how much per taxi for the duration of the lockdown.

"In principle, we have agreed to financially support the taxi industry. In the next coming week, I should be able to come back and report on the details, including financial support."

Mbalula noted the industry's "sacrifice" in fighting the spread of Covid-19.

"The economic battering that they have experienced and come across daily, they have understood that with the sacrifice they have made, we are fighting a common enemy called coronavirus.

"I know other people when we talk about relief and financial support to the taxi industry say I am mad and why do I support people who are not regulated and don't pay tax. They ask us why do we spend our taxpayers' money to support this industry.

"I have news for them that I am in the process of regulating, transforming and formalising the industry. By now, we could have had an indaba where some decision that I intended to take to transform the industry would have been endorsed would have been endorsed," said Mbalula.