Relief as SA driver’s licence card printing machine gets restored

The department of transport has announced that the country’s only licence card printing machine is now fully operational after undergoing repairs for three weeks in May, creating a headache for drivers with expired drivers’ licences.

The machine, which had been offline for several weeks, is expected to significantly increase production and alleviate the backlog of driving licence cards.

In a statement on Sunday, the department said the machine had been taken out of production for three weeks in May 2023 to replace a broken part that was identified during routine maintenance. Following the part replacement, the machine underwent two weeks of testing before receiving certification to resume full production.

“The testing of the machine after the part replacement took another two weeks before it was certified to go back to full production.  This will see an increase in production from the 60 000 cards produced over the past three weeks during the testing period to about 120 000 cards per week.  The machine has printed an average 2 850 000 cards per annum in the past two financial years. Since its commissioning in 1998, it has printed over 60million driving licence cards,” the department said.

Despite the positive news of the machine’s repair, a backlog of 350 000 driver’s licence cards has accumulated over the past five weeks, the department said. However, it has assured motorists that they are actively addressing the backlog and anticipate clearing it by the end of August.

In addition to addressing the current backlog, the department is working on introducing a new driving licence card as approved by cabinet in August 2022. The new card, set to be launched before the end of the current financial year, will come with updated card production machines.

“The department is currently working on the process to introduce a new driving licence card as approved by cabinet in August 2022. The new driver’s licence card will be launched before the end of the current financial year. It will also bring with it new card production machines to replace the current machine.  This signals the new dawn in the driver’s licence card environment,” said the department.

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