If the ‘new normal’ has you in a tailspin on how to renew your driver’s licence, you’re not alone.
In December 2020, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula tweeted that the validity of licences would be extended along with other permits, only to quietly delete his tweet when the extension wasn’t officially gazetted.
This incident, along with unclear and sometimes contradictory statements from the South African government and municipal licensing departments, has left South African motorists scratching their heads – but no need to worry, if you’ve lost your driving licence or need to renew, we’ve got all the facts to make it easier for you to get back on the road.
What is the real driver’s licence grace period?
Officially, if your learner’s licence, driver’s licence, temporary driver’s licence, or professional driving permit expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 December 2020, it will still be valid until 31 August 2021.
If your licence expires on or after 1 January 2021, the extension won’t apply to you. This grace period also doesn’t apply to licence discs, regardless of when they expired.
Will there be another extension?
In short, no one knows until the government officially gazettes another extension. If your driver’s licence expired on or after 1 January 2021, relying on another extension to buy you time to renew is a game of Russian roulette – so it’s best to renew as soon as possible.
Alright, I’m ready to renew. How do I do it?
Unfortunately, the renewals process has been mired in controversy, even before the pandemic.
The online booking system has been criticised as unstable and slow, with some areas reflecting that there are zero slots available for the foreseeable future. Added to that, there have been several protests in February and March this year at Gauteng testing centres.
Although renewing a driver’s licence is no one’s idea of a good time, it’s necessary to bite the bullet to avoid being fined or arrested. Here’s how:
What you need to take to the DLTC to renew
There’s nothing more soul-crushing than standing in a queue from 6 AM only to discover you’ve forgotten a vital document. Show up prepared, patient, and armed with a face mask and hand sanitiser. Don’t forget to bring a good book or top up your mobile data, so you’re entertained while you wait.
Here’s what you’ll need:
What else you’ll need to do at the DLTC
Wait, what about my licence disc?
Unfortunately, there has been no extension for the grace period on licence discs, no matter when yours expired.
You can renew your licence disc through third parties (although these can be pricey!), you can do it yourself at your nearest Post Office, and some banks also offer a licence disc renewal service at selected branches.
The easiest (and most pandemic-friendly) option? dotsure.co.za’s nifty Licence Protect benefit that’s automatically added to all comprehensive car insurance policies. We’ll give you a head’s up when your disc is about to expire, facilitate the renewal, and even deliver your licence disc to you!
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