South Africa plans to start offering driving licences through schools

Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga says her department is working with the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) to offer driving and learner licences at schools across the country.

Answering in a recent parliamentary Q&A, Motshekga said the agreement will include both classroom lessons as well as formal accreditation through the RTMC. However, she said that the planned rollout of the scheme had somewhat stalled due to budgetary constraints – but was still a key priority.

“Learner road safety education has been incorporated in the open-source Life Orientation textbooks. The Department is collaborating with Road Traffic Management Corporation in ensuring that learners can exit the schooling system having obtained a learner driver’s licence,” she said.

“The RTMC is the authority in the issuing of learner and driver’s licences, and they have limited budget and resources to implement this programme. The two departments share plans as required by the protocol and this is a priority in the joint programmes.”

South Africa currently faces a backlog of more than 500,000 licences after the national Covid-19 lockdown imposed on the country in 2020 and 2021 forced licensing centres to close, resulting in a massive backlog of expired vehicle and driving licences.

This was compounded after the country’s only licence printing machine broke down at the end of 2021, leaving approximately half a million South African motorists stuck with expired driving licence cards.

The grace period for licences that expired during the Covid pandemic is currently set to expire on 31 March 2022 – and will not be extended, says Transport minister Fikile Mbalula.

Read: One of South Africa’s biggest highways is getting an upgrade – with traffic delays coming sooner than expected

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