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SA car licence renewal confusion: 5 questions answered

2016-01-28 15:35

TAKING ACTION: The City of Cape Town has reverted to sending car licence-renewal notices due to national agencies failing to do so and causing a delay. Image: Wheels24 / Sean Parker

Cape Town - Earlier on Thursday, Wheels24 reported that the City of Cape Town is facing a huge backlog of drivers  attempting to renew vehicle licences.

The City of Cape Town warned that it would not send any notices during November/December 2015. 

Many Wheels24 users have expressed their concern regarding long queues at licensing centres.

Cutting through the confusion?

Howard Dembovsky, national Chairman of the Justice Project South Africa, answers top questions regarding vehicle licence-renewals:

1. Who is to blame for the backlog?

JPSA: "For a significant period of time now, many vehicle owners have been complaining that vehicle licence renewal reminders have not been received. While the apparent failure may be attributable to the inefficiencies of the South African Post Office, the RTMC or eNaTIS, the City of Cape Town claimed yesterday (January 27 2016) that this is attributable to National Agencies failing to send reminders to vehicle owners.

Read: New car licence rules for SA: This might irk you...

2. I didn't receive a licence-renewal notice, why is that?

JPSA: "While the RTMC Act does not place a duty on it to send out licence renewal reminders, it has done so since its formation and the R36.00 transaction fee on eNaTIS transactions is paid to the RTMC. It is not clear whether the specific point of failure is attributable to the SA Post Office, the RTMC or eNaTIS itself, but whatever the reason behind it is, vehicle owners are advised to check their licence discs regularly."

"Motorists are reminded that checking the validity of their licence disc on their vehicle is part of the pre-trip inspection which should be performed before driving, not just at the K53 driving licence test."


Have you experienced long queues or delays while renewing your vehicle licence disc?Share your experience with us.

3. What documentation do I need? Are there specific forms?

When renewing your licence you need the following:

  • Your identity document
  • Proof of postal and residential address (e.g. utility account).
  • You must fill in a notification of change of address or particulars of person or organisation (NCP) form.
  • Motor vehicle licence renewal notice (MVL2). If you do not have the renewal notice, complete form ALV (Application for Licensing of Motor Vehicle).

JPSA: "Should a licence disc be due for renewal and the owner not have received a reminder to renew it, a form ALV will have to be completed."

4. I'm being told I can't renew my licence because an arrest warrant has been issued?

JPSA: "It is also important to note that counter staff of the SA Post Office are particularly fond of telling people that a warrant of arrest has been issued when people try unsuccessfully to renew their licence discs.

"While this may be true in the City of Cape Town where administrative blocks are placed on eNaTIS by it on the basis of the existence of a warrant of arrest, it is most likely untrue in other parts of the country."

"By far, the most likely cause of a licence disc not being issued is the existence of an enforcement order issued under the AARTO Act. In October 2015, JPSA published an advisory on this matter, yet it still receives numerous enquiries from panicked members of the public who are misled and unduly intimidated by alarmist statements by SAPO counter staff. Motorists are also advised that enforcement orders block the renewal of driving licenses and Professional Driving Permits (PrDP) as well as licence discs."

5. Why can't I apply online?

JPSA: "Despite the National Department of Transport having published in a government gazette 38142 on 31 October 2014 that motorists may make use of an online facility on its website to verify and update their address details the eNaTIS system, no such facility apparently exists on its or the RTMC’s websites.

"According to the City of Cape Town, such a vehicle licensing facility does exist on its own website however this would only be applicable to Cape Town and not to any other part of the country."

Users respond:

Gail Inkersole: It's pathetic that we had to stand in queues for an hour when there were unmanned counters that could have assisted in speeding-up the whole process.

Paul Cruden: Queue almost out of the doors at Robertson (Western Cape) traffic office.Three windows only one manned. Pitiful situation.

Sharon Beneke: In KwaZulu-Natal we have not received renewals for a year!

Lizette Holloway: Please, I urge something should be done concerning the painfully long cues and unfriendly staff issuing licences.

Indeed I have. It's also pathetic that we had to stand in queues for an hour when there were unmanned counters that could have assisted in speeding up the whole process.

'What a racket'

Ian McNee: I waited three and a half hours in Humansdorp and was then instructed to bring a photograph. This is a recent innovation and I had no knowledge of the requirement.  They take your photo there of course but you must go across the road and pay R50. What a racket!

MC Cloete: Standing in queues since 4.45 in the morning at the Richards Bay Traffic License Office to ensure that I can get in first when the office open at 07:30. At 06:00 I counted how many people in the queue - 60!  Disgusting. People stand in this heat for hours without shade.

Melissa Smith: I was also one the the people whose licence expired on Dec 31 2015. I was away on holiday and when I returned in January I went to renew my license at Kuils River.

I went there every day for four days because when I arrived there the lines were till outside of the building. I came on different times but it was full every day. On the 4th day I decided to stand in the long queue because time was running out. I stood there for about two hours at first there was only one teller and only after an hour the second teller came. It's a disgrace that one has to wait so long there are elderly and disabled people also in the lines and it's as if nobody cares, you just have to wait.

'Great service'

Mark Henley: Went to Goodwood today to renew. 30 minute process. Easy peasy. Friendly staff.

Rolf Levenhagen: Had to renew my renewable disc today at the traffic department in Stellenbosch and experienced great service from the service staff - they have guided me to the elderly counter and it took 5min. I was impressed by their friendliness.

WC transport dept answers questions regarding new licence regulations:

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