DA ready to challenge high vehicle licence tariffs and no licence reminders for KZN’s motorists

Issued by Sharon Hoosen, MPL – DA KZN Spokesperson on Transport
12 Aug 2019 in Press Statements

Recent Close-Out reports tabled at a KZN Finance portfolio committee have revealed that KZN’s vehicle owners continue to pay the a highest tariffs countrywide when it comes to vehicle licences.

To add insult to injury, the province’s Department of Transport (DoT) has also stopped sending out licence renewal reminders via post, causing a major uproar amongst vehicle owners who have had to cough up hundreds of rands in penalties for late renewals.

The issue was recently raised in the KZN Legislature with the Democratic Alliance tabling a Motion calling on Transport MEC, Mxolisi Kaunda to reinstate the posting of vehicle licence reminders as a courtesy to motorists and to urgently review the province’s current vehicle licence tariff.

There are several reasons why the DA is taking on this fight – the main one being that we do not believe that KZN’s motorists and vehicle owners are being treated fairly.

This includes the fact that many drivers are being left out of pocket after paying exorbitant amounts in penalties on licence renewals, with the majority acknowledging this transgression and making the payment after being stopped by law enforcement officers.

Then there is the fact that KZN’s motor vehicle owners are also paying more for vehicle licences than in any other province. Despite a task team comprising of provincial treasury and national having been formed this year to explore ways in which to standardise tariffs for motor vehicle licences, there is still no change to this.

The current situation is a slap in the face to KZN’s motorists. Not only are they forced to pay penalties and higher licensing fees, they are also on the receiving end of fewer government services each day which includes a complete lack of road maintenance.

The Department’s original decision to do away with the reminder service was allegedly based on the associated costs. Yet, according to the Department’s 2018/19 Close Out Report (view here), KZN’s Motor Licencing Department collected R1.764 billion rands through licence fees. This is higher than the budgeted R1.694 billion, with the over-collection due to higher than anticipated applications for new and renewals of motor vehicle licences.

Given this massive surplus, the DA can see no good reason for why the DoT should not be able to reintroduce the reminder service and has called on MEC Kaunda to investigate this, along with cheaper and more advanced methods of sending out such reminders such as SMS’s, Whatsapp messaging or even emails.

The MEC needs to act in the interests of the people he serves and find out why the task team is not delivering regarding the tariff issue.

The DA expects MEC Kaunda to review both of these situations and report back to the province’s Transport portfolio committee as a matter of urgency.