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Zimbabwe hit by driver's licence disc shortage

by Staff reporter
27 Dec 2022 at 06:42hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT says it is failing to procure raw materials for the production of metal driver's licence discs, citing sanctions.

This was revealed in an exclusive interview with NewsDay by Transport minister Felix Mhona.

Mhona told NewsDay that the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) has been struggling to clear a huge backlog of driver's licences.

"CVR has made positive steps in clearing the backlog on driver's licence discs. However, the pace is not as fast as we would want because of several challenges, some of which are beyond the scope of CVR in particular, and the ministry in general. For a better context, the raw materials used in the manufacture of licence discs are imported, and because of sanctions, it has been hard to procure them from the traditional suppliers in the USA [United States of America]," Mhona said.

"We import the special alumni photo plates, the film, developer and gold dye and seal materials. It has been difficult to get supplies in stock," he said.

Mhona said a driver's licence was increasingly becoming a mandatory document like a national identity.

"More and more people are taking driver's licences as cars are also increasing on the roads. The number of cars we have on our roads has increased drastically, especially with the advent of ex-Japan vehicles. As it stands, there is only one plant or machine to make the licences in Zimbabwe and it has to absorb all applicants," Mhona said.

He said the machine that produced the discs was obsolete and experienced constant breakdowns.

"Most of the work from VID to CVR remains manual and this takes time. As it stands, there is only one plant or machine to make the licence discs in Zimbabwe and it has to absorb all applicants. The production line also uses a special type of typewriter, for example, Olivetti and Brothers, which have unique characters and letters that help to weed out counterfeits," Mhona said.

"Working space has been greatly compromised due to huge volumes from VID and police driving schools which test thousands daily and all these applicants are forwarded to CVR."

He said with a good supply of photo plates and equipment, disc production could improve.

"There were a number of strategies that were employed to address the backlog challenges with the current set-up to ensure that at least there is something being produced while looking at the big picture. The greatest solution to the backlog is automation of the whole process. As such, CVR will be launching its new Sadc plastic licence that is compliant with the Tripartite Transport and Transit Facilitation Programme sometime in January 2023," he said.

He said the initiative would ensure that backlogs were a thing of the past, while the new licences would bring in modern printing technology.

Source - Newsday Zimbabwe