If you’re old enough to need to visit the traffic department then you know how arduous that process can be. While it’ll likely continue being a pain, it could become a simpler pain. Revealed during the Driving Licence Card Account’s (DLCA) annual performance plan for 2021/2022, it seems South Africa is due for some serious infrastructure overhauls, specifically when it comes to our licenses. System upgrades are coming across the board to reduce to improve service delivery time and to ensure that the introduction of electronic driver’s licenses is a smooth process for everyone.
Yet before we get to that point the DLCA is looking at providing updated driver’s licenses that should put South Africa more in line with international regulations. These cards will be designed in such a way as to utilise emerging technologies, in the form of something called an e-DL. Guess what that is?
Once all that is squared away, then we can begin worrying about fully electronic licenses. And then self-driving cars. Hopefully.
Driver’s Licenses, driving change
Speaking to the introduction of the new licenses, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said, “The DLCA is in the final phase of designing the new driving license card design that is expected to be introduced in mid-2021/2022 financial year.”
“The project will allow for the adoption of digital technologies such as blockchain and other related technologies which will form the the platform an integrated transport system,” reads a statement by the DLCA.
It makes sense that South Africa would want to move towards a more integrated, digital system for driver’s licenses but the question remains: is the country ready? Large swathes of people don’t have access to the tech needed to make use virtual license cards. Addressing this, Mbalula said “With the introduction of the e-DL, the motorist will have an option to apply for a physical card and electronic driver’s licence.” No doubt reassuring to folks that wouldn’t be able to make use of these infrastructure advancements.