Massive backlog as SA license printing machine breaks down

South Africa’s Department of Transport has come under fire for failing to issue licenses on time.

Addressing the members of the media fraternity, Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula said the machine is currently in Germany for repairs.


“”The license machine is in Germany, it has broken,” Mbalula said.


“I am going to be announcing temporary measures with regards to temporary license but I am moving ahead with the new driver’s license cards which I will announce in public.”



The machine breakdown had reportedly caused a massive backlog of 383 000 licence cards as of December 1.


Meanwhile, Outa chief executive, Wayne Duvenage expressed shock at the manner in which the department failed to avoid the backlog of licence renewals by securing a back-up machine.


“To think that we have one machine that makes licence cards in this country and then that machine breaks down and three months later it is still not fixed. This is serious,” he said.


He also questioned the previous explanation by the department that the machine broke down as a result of flooding.


“Ain’t this machine protected? We don’t even know whether that is the real reason. It was an old machine and probably not maintained, but whatever it is, it is not an excuse,” he said.


In 2019 the department apparently ignored a warning by DA MP and member of the transport portfolio committee Chris Hunsinger about the lack of a back-up plan during an oversight visit to the Driving Licence Card Account facility.