Radley Keys, MPP
DA KZN Spokesperson on Transport
The Democratic Alliance has called for an urgent review of KwaZulu-Natal’s licence fees for all categories of vehicles and trailers, appealing to the province’s traffic department to re-examine its mandate to serve the people and stop fleecing road users. A comparison of current licence fees reveals that KZN has, by a large margin, the highest fees in the country.
The current licence fee for a standard vehicle is R525 while in Gauteng motorists pay R420 and in Mpumalanga, R312. At a recent meeting of the KZN Transport portfolio committee, the department proposed that the next annual increase be reduced from an initial figure of approximately 10% to around 6%. This is in itself a clear acknowledgement that the licence fees are exorbitant. The department’s attitude has resulted in many motorists taking advantage of more affordable options in other provinces. This has had a negative effect on the income generated through licensing and has also opened the door to potential large scale corruption due to a lack of control by the department over vehicles licensed in other provinces.
The DA views this development in a very serious light. The department has also suggested that licence fees be standardised across the country. This is a double-edged sword in that;
· Provinces should be able to set their own fees in order to create a competitive spirit to offer the best service at the most affordable price. This system also allows consumers to compare quality and price and make their own choice.
· The potential negative outcome of standardising licence fees country wide is that the highest licensing fees – those of KZN – will be adopted leaving hard pressed motorists and businesses further out of pocket.
That KZN has opted to be the most expensive province in the country reflects the lack of vision and strategy within the provincial department of transport to provide an affordable and efficient service. This shortsightedness has resulted in a financial drain for KZN which is now benefitting other provinces which offer a more affordable licensing service.