South Africa’s only driver’s licence card-printing machine has been fixed and is back in production, the department of transport said.
The department said that following the repairs, it will now double card production from 60 000 to 120 000 per week and hoped to clear the backlog by of 350 000 driving licence cards by August.
When the machine underwent routine maintenance in April, a problem was encountered that required the replacement of a critical part from the original equipment manufacturer in Germany.
Although the department originally promised the repair would only take two to three weeks, it has been closer to two months since the machine broke down.
Department spokesman Collen Msibi said the testing of the machine, after the part replacement, took another two weeks before it was certified to go back to full production.
“The machine has printed an average of 2.85 million cards per annum in the past two financial years. Since its commissioning in 1998, it has printed over 60 million driving licence cards,” Msibi said.
“The department is currently working on the process to introduce a new driving licence card, as approved by the cabinet in August 2022. The new driving 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 driving licence card environment,” Msibi said.
Last year, the department also experienced a major backlog in the printing of licences after the card machine broke down and had to be sent to Germany to be fixed. – © 2023 NewsCentral Media