ZIMBABWE yesterday launched a Sadc-compliant driver’s licence disc as part of measures to work in sync with other countries in the region and curb corruption in the issuance of the document at the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID).
Speaking at the licence disc launch in Harare, Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Felix Mhona said the new licence, multilingual electronic licence testing system and digital route permit will help minimise revenue leakages in the department.
He said the launch also spoke volumes of government’s resolve to eliminate corruption in the issuance of drivers’ licences.
“The new Sadc compliant drivers’ licence system will also enhance government’s capacity to develop an electronic database of licensed drivers which will be linked with all relevant stakeholders,” Mhona said.
He said the new drivers’ licence, which would be recognised in 25 countries in the Sadc region, would help Zimbabwean drivers acquire jobs in foreign countries.
The licences will also harmonise and standardise driver training, testing and certification within the entire tripartite region, which include the Sadc, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the East African Community.
“Such regional initiatives and standards will facilitate conformance with international best practices to allow the use of domestic drivers’ licences for international travel,” Mhona said.
Government also pledged to clear the current backlog of drivers’ licences by issuing new licences, where drivers will now be able to receive their licences within seven to 10 days from the day they pass their competence test.
“It is crucial for all of us to be informed that we currently have a backlog of approximately 600 000 applicants waiting for their driving licences to be printed and issued.
“This backlog dates to 2019 because of obsolete equipment at Central Vehicle Registry, as well as shortage of materials to produce the costly metal discs.
“I am pleased that the manual certificates of competency records have been scanned, captured, and are now stored in electronic format,” Mhona said.
He also warned reckless driving in the country which has seen an increase in road carnage, with 90% caused by human error.
The new driver’s licence will consolidate the professional driver’s permit and the defensive drivers certificate onto a single card.
Professional drivers will now be progressively certified unlike the current scenario, whereby one instantly becomes a professional driver on obtaining Class 2.
All professional driver’s permits will be renewable after two years, where drivers will be required to undergo eye tests to assess vision and the ability to focus on and discern objects.
Similarly, the drivers’ biometrics will also be periodically updated in the system.
Other drivers outside the professional drivers category will also undergo eye tests and updating of their biometric records after every five years.