The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has said the requirement for drivers to renew their licences every five years is necessary for road safety.

A Business Day report says amid the growing backlog of driving licence renewals due to Covid-19 disruptions, various groups and opposition parties have called on the government to consider extending licence renewal intervals from five years to 10 years.

Briefing Parliament’s Transport Committee on the backlogs, RTMC boss Makhosini Msibi said while it will be up to the Ministry and Department of Transport to comment on the issue of revising the renewal intervals, the corporation believes the current regime is necessary.

However, DA MP Chris Hunsinger said the requirement to renew a driver’s licence every five years has not contributed to road safety.

‘Basically it’s an eye test and a form of taxation,’ Hunsinger said, referring to the fee a driver has to pay to renew the licence.

He suggested the renewal period be 10 years, which will also help alleviate pressure on licensing centres.

Msibi said the centres will in the next six weeks improve their systems to make it easier to renew a licence online. The only time one would have to visit a centre will be for an eye test, unless it is done privately.

Licensing centres will also extend operating hours and open on Saturdays to clear the backlog, he said.

The government hopes to clear the backlog by the first quarter of next year.

Full Business Day report