Search for a story:
News in brief - Date: 23 May 2020
Written by: Andries van Zyl / Viewed: 765
Residents who have to renew their vehicle or driving licenses are no closer to knowing when they will be able to do so as the Makhado Municipality’s licencing department remains shut.
Many breathed a sigh of relief at the beginning of May when the Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula, announced that licensing departments and vehicle testing stations would be able to resume their services, subject to certain strict directions and conditions. These directions and conditions were subsequently published in Government Gazette No 43270 of 4 May.
The purpose of the directions was to provide for the provision of improved access and hygiene, disinfection control on all premises of driving licence testing centres and vehicle testing centres, as well as the validity period of licences.
As for the validity of licenses, the gazetted regulations state that all learner's licences, drivers licences, motor vehicle licence disks, temporary permits and roadworthy certificates that expired during lockdown will remain valid and shall be extended for a grace period of 30 days after the publication date of the regulation, namely 4 May. It also states that a motor trade number licence that expired during the lockdown is deemed to be valid and shall be extended for a further grace period of six months from the date of publication of these directions, while driving licence testing centres and vehicle testing centres will resume their operation, also with effect from the day of publication of these directions.
Almost three weeks later, however, the Makhado Municipality’s licensing department and testing station seem to be stuck in lockdown mode and remain shut. Asked why they have not opened yet to allow holders of expired licenses to renew within the 30-day grace period as from 4 May, the municipality’s answers remain vague.
“We are working hard on it to make sure that we ultimately conform and comply with the government regulations,” was municipal spokesperson Mr Louis Bobodi response on 12 May. A week later, after another inquiry why the licensing department was still not open, Bobodi responded on 19 May: “With regard to opening of traffic and licensing, we are still dealing with preparations. However, take note that we will be guided by the provincial Department of Transport, hence this is a shared service with the Department of Transport. As it stands, we sent them our reports to update them on the readiness and status,” said Bobodi.
The only thing that seems to be standing in the way of opening is the matter of public and staff safety at the licencing and testing facilities. Regarding this, the gazetted regulations state that all driving licence testing centres and vehicle testing centres must sanitise or provide hygiene dispensers for washing of hands for their clients when entering their premises. No person will be allowed to enter a building, place or premises if they do not wear a cloth face mask or a homemade item that covers the nose and mouth and all driving licence testing centres and vehicle testing centres must put measures in place to adhere to physical distancing to curb the spread of the virus. Lastly, the regulations state that all driving licence testing centres and vehicle testing centres must put in place procedures for the cleaning and disinfecting of their premises.
Andries joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in April 1993 as a darkroom assistant. Within a couple of months he moved over to the production side of the newspaper and eventually doubled as a reporter. In 1995 he left the newspaper group and travelled overseas for a couple of months. In 1996, Andries rejoined the Zoutpansberger as a reporter. In August 2002, he was appointed as News Editor of the Zoutpansberger, a position he holds until today.