Durban – KwaZulu-Natal Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC, Bheki Ntuli, have urged vehicle owners who felt they were unfairly overcharged licence penalties to approach the appropriate registering authority for assistance.
He said the department was aware that the issue of vehicle licence penalties had been a cause for concern for many citizens and motorists in KZN.
He said only licences that expired during the period March 26, 2020, up to and including May 31, 2020, were granted an extension with regards to the amnesty period gazetted by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
“Vehicle licences that expired prior to the national lockdown, or after the period mentioned in the gazette notices, were subject to the normal conditions as contained in the National Road Traffic Regulations, as far as arrears licence fees and penalties are concerned,” said Ntuli.
He added that the same procedures used in relation to the charging of licence fee penalties applied uniformly at provincial registering authorities, Post Offices and municipalities in KZN.
“For example, a vehicle licence that expired on February 28, 2020, the customer had the whole month of February as well as the 21-day grace period that ended before the national lockdown started, to license the said vehicle,” he said.
However, he said if owners experienced challenges and wanted to query the fees owing, they should approach the relevant office.
“Refund processes and other options are available to assist members of the public. It is important to note that each case will be investigated and dealt with on its merit,” said Ntuli.
DA KZN spokesperson on Transport, Sharon Hoosen, said Ntuli had not agreed to the DA’s proposal made at a recent transport portfolio committee meeting for motorists who had been overcharged to be refunded or credited during licence applications in 2021.
Hoosen also raised the difficulties faced by the public while trying to obtain or renew licences.
Some of the concerns raised included people having to arrive at Drivers Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs) in the early hours of the morning to make the quota of clients attended to in a day, which in some cases was 35.
She said people are expected to stand in long queues, usually without any chairs in the heat and the rain.
“The overall situation is compounded by the fact that DLTCs are also dealing with the backlog of renewals created during the lockdown period, with people whose licences are currently due for renewal competing for space in the queues.”
The department did not respond to the additional issues raised by the DA.
Meanwhile, the Verulam Driving Licence Test Centre has launched a pilot project to streamline the booking process for the renewal of driver’s licences.
The eThekwini municipality said in a statement yesterday that metro police management had decided to pilot the project.
It aims to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus due to the large number of applicants queuing at the centre.
The public is required to contact the booking office and make an appointment to renew their driver’s licences. The numbers to call are 031 322 1771 and 031 322 1853.
The documents required include an original identity document, a copy of the identity document, proof of residence, and preferably an eye test certificate from an optician.
The municipality said the booking office would be open from Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 2.30pm, excluding public holidays.
Verulam Driving Licence and Test Centre operating hours are Monday to Saturday, 7am to 2pm.