Bad news for new ‘smart’ driving licences in South Africa – BusinessTech


The Department of Transport has confirmed that not only has it missed its targeted launch of new ‘smart’ driving licence cards for South Africa, but it has yet to choose the service provider for the cards.

Despite this, it said it is “on track” to deliver the new cards, but has not committed to any new deadline, saying it will be ready when it is ready.

This is a direct contradiction to statements made by transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga, who said in April that the department was “making strides” with introducing new driving licence cards in South Africa, with printing expected to start by the end of April.

She said at the time that the department would launch at least 100 cards per province by the end of April 2024.

However, this would have been impossible given the new information from the department, which said that the bidding window for service providers was open until 5 May.

The department said that it has faced “initial challenges” in finding a suitable service provider, which led to the delay.

Cabinet gave a go-ahead to produce a new driving license card for the country on 30 August 2022, after which the department embarked on its “first attempt” to source a service provider.

The above bid was advertised on 10 November 2022. This bid process was unsuccessful, resulting in a re-advertisement of the bid on 5th April 2023.

This bid closed on 5 May, “and owing to its technical complexity, this bid continues to be under consideration, which requires the department to adhere to prescribed SCM prescripts and regulations,” the department said.

Regardless, the department now says that “with the evaluation and adjudication of the bids completed, the department is almost at a brink of pronouncing a new dawn in the driving licence card environment, with the audit process being the only last hurdle standing in the way.”

The bids were received from the following bidders:

  1. Ren-Form Corporate Print Media
  2. Nec Xon Systems (PTY) LTD
  3. Muehlbauer ID Services GMBH
  4. Gemalto Altron Fintech Southern Africa (PTY) LTD
  5. Idemia Identity and Security – South Africa

“The evaluation and adjudication of the bid completed, the bid is undergoing standard and required department’s probity/audit processes. The department cannot finalize the bid process until the above is completed,” it said.

“The department will pronounce on this matter when all processes have been completed.”

The department said it is prohibited by law not to poke its nose into the affairs of the bidding committees, and, in compliance with the rules and regulations on tender processes, it cannot be characterised as lacking transparency.

Read: Problem for South Africa’s new driving licences


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