SA’s lone licence printing machine is fixed!

South Africa’s one and only licence-printing machine is well-travelled. Last year Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula told an astonished country that the only machine which can print licence cards had broken down on 7 November. But, he assured us, the machine was in Germany being fixed. 😶 Now, with apologies to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator, it’s back – and that round trip for repairs means the machine boasts more stamps in its passport than we have to show for the past 24 months! 😂 But will it be able to handle the backlog? The backlog was close to 1.5-million two months ago, according to a statement by the Road Traffic Management Corporation in November last year. Over a third of that is in Gauteng. It’s probably a lot more now.

Bodies like the Automobile Association are calling for another extension to the grace period for expired licence cards necessitated by the pandemic. As we told you previously, if your licence expired between 26 March 2020 up to and including 31 August 2021, it’s still considered valid until the end of March 2022. 

Mbalula, who calls himself “Mr Fix” (delicious irony given that broken machine and our disastrous rail system) has also announced a plan to introduce a new driver’s licence card featuring several security enhancements and incorporating new technology like blockchain. It’s all terribly fourth industrial revolution. The card is awaiting final approval by the cabinet. We live in hope. ✊🏽

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 11 February 2022. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.