Renewing my driver’s licence in Joburg

By 14:42

So there I was having a lovely conversation with friends one evening until someone told us a funny story about how he was stopped by the cops and only then realised that his licence expired. I then pulled out my wallet and realised that my licence had been expired for 3 months already!

My mood quickly turned as no one wants the schlep of having to renew their driver’s licence. I procrastinated for a bit while lamenting about how the God, the universe and useless government departments all hate me. But I had to get it done as I had a long drive to Durban to prepare for. Also, driving around with an expired licence is a huge risk. I’m not worried about the cops as much as I’m worried about insurance companies refusing to pay out if I’m in an accident.

The entire process made me very miserable and to avoid you that misery, I decided to put together a list of things you need to bring with you in order to get your licence renewed.
  • Time. Finding time was my biggest issue. The licencing departments are only open on weekdays until 3pm. This means trying to find the right time to leave work. I suggest taking an afternoon off or going super early in the morning but make sure that you don’t have any meetings that day – you might not make it back in time.
  • ID photos. You might have heard of digital photos. Yeah they take em out during the application process and you might have taken them out the last time you applied for or renewed your licence. It’s really just for the traffic department to feel like they are technologically advanced because it does nothing for your application. You’ll still need 2 ID photos. You can get them outside the any of the licencing stations for about R50 for 4 black and white photos.
  • A photocopy of your ID. Now if you call them, they won’t tell you about this bit (that’s if they answer their phones). All they say is that you need your ID. So if you don’t bring it, be prepared for a 15 minute brisk walk in the hot sun for the photocopy station very far away outside the licencing department. No one will make a copy for you during the application process, even though they should. Oh and you can’t take your car cos it’s a mission to find parking and you really don’t want to go through that twice.
  • A black pen. There are no pens for you to use in this little office and if staff do have pens, they taunt you with the fact that it’s all blue.
  • About R300. Of course, government does not embrace the information age. Make sure you have enough cash as they do not accept cards. R300 is enough to renew your licence and get a temporary licence.
  • Good eyesight. The eye test is gruelling and tests peripheral vision which is not easy for people who wear glasses. If you have bad eyesight, get a script from your optometrist. You don’t want to waste a two and a half hour wait just to fail that eye test.
  • Snacks. The whole process took two and a half hours. This doesn’t even count my earlier trip to the Midrand licencing department which was a waste of time since their system was down. Whatever you do, make sure you have something to snack on in case you find yourself passing your lunch time in that queue.
  • A fully charged phone to keep you busy while you wait. Enough said.

Good luck renewing your licence and hopefully these tips help. 

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