The Automobile Association (AA) says that the Department of Transport needs to gazette official changes to South Africa’s proposed vehicle licence fees.
Earlier this month, the department gazetted updated fees for services offered by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), which included a ‘new’ online booking fee for the renewal of driver licences of R250.
Civil society groups like the AA and Outa flagged the fee, claiming that the department was trying to double-charge motorists for licence renewals.
The AA said that the reading of the proposal, as it stands in the gazette, is that the government will charge motorists R250 for online bookings to renew driving licences – for the booking only, excluding the actual cost of the licence.
When the issue was raised, the RTMC claimed that the AA and Outa were misleading the public. The RTMC said that the R250 fee included the issuance of the credit card format driving licence, and that the fee had not changed.
The only change, it said, is that in future a motorist can opt to do these transactions online rather than at the driver licence testing centre.
However, the AA said that this was not conveyed in the government gazette at all, and, despite the public clarification, no official correction or clarification to these fees has since been published. The motoring body warned that the fees as currently gazetted will pass into law unless they are challenged and amended.
“Any misunderstanding is entirely due to the poor and vague wording of the gazette, not through any misinterpretation from the AA. Despite all the ‘corrections’ by the RTMC, it hasn’t actually amended the proposed regulations officially,” the AA said.
The association said that that social media posts, press statements or media interviews do not constitute an official notification or correction of any amendment, especially a notice which has already been officially published in the government gazette.
Only a republishing of the notice, with its correct and specific wording, will suffice legally, it said.
The AA said its concern is that, among all the hue and cry following the publication of the proposed amended fees, no correction will be published, and the fees will remain uncorrected and duly enacted.
“Since the RTMC and Department of Transport have not offered any formal correction of the original gazette we remain concerned that the process will unfold exactly as it is stated; ultimately there will be no recourse for motorists when the R250 is charged in addition to the cost of the actual card, which almost doubles the total cost for this document in Gauteng,” said the AA.
Read: Confusion over R250 driver licence ‘booking’ fee in South Africa