The deadline for the new credit-card style driver’s licence is around the corner, and about 1,5 million motorists in SA have not converted yet.

With the deadline for the new credit-card style driver’s licence around the corner, about 1,5 million motorists in South Africa have not converted to the new format yet.

Transport minister Dullah Omar published a notice in the government gazette on Friday making licences in identity books illegal from March 1.

This could change the approach of the insurance companies. The South African Industry Association (SAIA) said last week that if the licences were not illegal it would not compromise accident claims.

“Once we have seen a copy of the gazette, the association will get the opinions of the insurance companies and make a decision on our position,” said SAIA executive Caroline da Silva.

Lisa Mangcu, manager of road traffic operation police at the Department of Transport, told that of 6,5 million drivers, 1,5 million had not changed to the new style licence.

But there had been an increase in applications. In the first two weeks of January, 38 000 people applied for the new licences.

Mangcu said that residents of the former homelands of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei have been given a reprieve until September 1.

“The details of motorists from these areas have not yet been captured on the National Information Traffic System. This was due to a lot of bureaucratic delays and not the fault of the motorists so we have decided to give them a chance,” he said.

Meanwhile, many motorists have wondered why they cannot use their new licences as a identity document too, as it has a fingerprint on the back, the driver’s details and identity number. But banks have said this is not enough and they will only accept identity documents.

“It does not have the full names of individuals, only the initials. For instance, there may be a lot of people with the same initials and surname in the country,” SA Banking Council spokesman Claire Gebhardt-Mann told the .

Original article from Car