The Automobile Association (AA) says that proposed amended fees for Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) services announced by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula are “beyond outrageous and show deep contempt for the citizens of South Africa.”
Last week the government gazetted new fee proposals that include charging motorists R250 for online bookings to renew driving licences. This fee would be for the booking only and excludes the actual cost of the licence.
Additional levies of R700 for online motor vehicle registrations, and R700 for online changes of car ownership were also proposed in last weeks Gazette.
These fees exclude transaction fees of R72 and another R99 for the delivery of driving licence cards.
The AA said the proposed fees – seen in the context of the poor to non-existent service delivery rendered by the RTMC currently – seek to extract as much revenue from already cash-strapped citizens without providing any associated benefit to them.
“Why should citizens who are already paying taxes be expected to pay even more simply to make online bookings?” asks AA spokesperson Layton Beard.
“The proposal demonstrates a lack of sensitivity to the current plight of motorists who simply cannot renew their driving licences,” he added.
The RTMC reported a surplus for the 2019/2020 financial year of close to R262 million. The AA said the surplus indicates motorists are being substantially over-charged for services.
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.
Online drivers licence renewals have been fraught with inefficiencies and the transport department has done little to alleviate the bottleneck.
“The driving licence renewal and vehicle registration system is 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 actually rendered,” said Beard.
Greedy transport department looks to motorists to generate revenue
The AA said the online charges amounts to ‘double-dipping’ by the government- and its only intention is to drum up revenues, with zero benefits to motorists and their safety on badly maintained road infrastructure.
“How is it possible to have a surplus of R262-million given the dire state of the country’s roads?” asked the AA.
The organisation blasted the transport department for publishing the new proposed fees at a time when millions of motorists cannot renew their licences and a time when many people are struggling financially.
“Yet government thinks it’s wise to add to citizen’s misery by suggesting excessively high rates to perform even the most basic functions which should already be covered by the Transport Budget financed through taxes,” says the AA.
The Association is planning to make a formal submission to the Department of Transport highlighting its concerns.
It is also launching an online petition against the proposed fees.