Motorists to dig deep for online services

Cash-strapped motorists will soon have to fork out more money for online registrations, online appointments for licence renewals and online change of ownership.

AA

“The proposed amended fees for services offered by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) announced by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula are beyond outrageous and show deep contempt for the citizens of South Africa,” says the Automobile Association (AA).

“The proposed fees – contained in a Government Gazette published late last week – demonstrate a lack of sensitivity to the current plight of motorists who simply cannot renew their driving licences. The proposals include a charge to motorists of R250 for online bookings to renew driving licences (for the booking only, excluding the actual cost of the licence), R700 for online registrations of motor vehicles, and R700 for online change of ownership of motor vehicles. These fees are additional to so-called transaction fees of R72 for every transaction performed at the RTMC and R99 for the delivery of driving licence cards,” according to the AA.

“These proposed fees must be seen in the context of the RTMC’s stated surplus for 2019/2020 of close on R262 million, which already proves that motorists are being substantially over-charged for services rendered by the Corporation. Further, the proposed fees should be seen in the context of the R9.3m annual remuneration of RTMC CEO Advocate Makhosini Msibi, who is responsible for ensuring all its systems work.

“The driving licence renewal and vehicle registration system are broken and must be replaced. Yet, amid all the delays and extensions, the only viable option government sees is to announce new fees for services that aren’t in fact rendered. Why should citizens who are already paying taxes be expected to pay even more simply to make online bookings? This all amounts to ‘double-dipping’ by government purely aimed at revenue generation with no benefit at all to motorists, and with no tangible evidence of improved road safety in the country,” notes the AA.

Road safety is the core function of the RTMC, yet road fatalities remain at historically high levels. The AA questions how a surplus of close to R262m is possible given this dire state of the country’s roads, but that more money is being extracted from motorists for online licence renewals.

The Association adds that the publishing of the proposals – and the actual content of the Gazette – are also an insult to citizens.

“These proposals are published at a time when millions of motorists cannot renew their licences through no fault of their own, and at a time when many people are struggling financially. Yet government thinks it’s wise to add to citizens’ misery by suggesting excessively high rates to perform even the most basic functions that should already be covered by the Transport Budget financed through taxes,” says the AA.

  • The Association says it will make a formal submission to the Department of Transport highlighting its concerns. It is launching an online petition against the proposed fees to collect signatures to support its submission, which must be made before Monday, 4 October.

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