Good news for motorists, as the Department of Transport has extended the grace period for driving licenses. All driving licences that expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 December 2020 are valid until next year.
The new grace period is valid from now until 31 August 2021.
“All learner's licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits, which expired during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020 up to and including 31 December 2020, are deemed to be valid, and their validity periods are extended for a further grace period ending on 31 August 2021,” the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, said on Thursday in the Government Gazette.
Transport ministry spokesperson Ayanda Allie-Paine said the department made this decision because many driving centres were struggling during the higher levels of the lockdown.
When regulations were eased, many people flocked to driving licence centres to renew their licenses, but this only made the centres face backlogs.
"Even as they tried to assist those people, you would get a Covid positive case...The whole centre would have to shut down for disinfection and that meant even more backlogs." said Allie-Paine.
Now that the extension is in the gazette, drivers can simply show their licences and say they fall within the grace period.
However, Allie-Paine has advised drivers to print out a copy of the government gazette if they face traffic officers who make it difficult for them to continue driving on the roads.
"We also know that there are some traffic officers who will try and solicit a bribe, something that should not happen but this would be for your protection."
Allie-Paine has asked motorists to be patient with the department of transport as it tries to handle backlogs during this grace period.