The initial reason for renewing driving license cards is believed to be because the material from which the license cards were made would not last more than five years. This is evident from the court record that Fikile Mbalula, Minister of Transport, filed in AfriForum’s court case. Further reasons to motivate the renewal period are also scant. This follows after the civil rights organisation AfriForum took legal action against the five-year renewal period for driving license cards earlier this year. The organisation argues that there is insufficient legislation to enforce this requirement.
It now also appears that Mbalula, due to the public pressure on the Department of Transport, is considering extending the renewal period of driving license cards from five years to ten years. Mbalula himself recently admitted that the legislation does not make it very clear that the driving license cards must be renewed every five years. However, in an interview during which he made this statement, he referred to the wrong legislation. Mbalula claimed that it is the National Road Transport Act that determines the renewal period when it is the National Road Traffic Act that actually determines the renewal period. However, AfriForum’s arguments point out that driver’s licenses are permanently valid according to the National Road Traffic Act.
Despite the department’s apparent intention to extend the renewal period of driver’s license cards to ten years, AfriForum continues with its legal actions. AfriForum’s legal action aims to obtain a court order stating that the legislation that purports to prescribe the five-year renewal period for driving license cards is unreasonable, arbitrary, and vague, as well as that motorists may not be punished if they drive with expired driving license cards. AfriForum therefore requests from the court that the renewal period of driving license cards should be reviewed and scrapped.
“AfriForum’s legal action will play a key role in bringing an end to the five-year renewal period of driver’s license cards, as the government is not known for keeping its promises. It is extremely encouraging for AfriForum’s court case that the minister himself admits that the legislation is unclear about the renewal period of driving license cards. In addition, the court record shows that it is an entirely inadequate and irrational explanation to prescribe the five-year renewal period simply because the material of the driver’s license cards allegedly cannot last longer,” says Reiner Duvenage, Campaign Officer for Strategy and Content at AfriForum.