By Tapiwa Svondo
The metal driver’s licenses will soon be replaced by new plastic discs that adhere to the standard specifications of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and East African Community (EAC).
Addressing journalists in Harare, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Felix Mhona said the plastic licenses will have enhanced security features, making them difficult to counterfeit.
“The Second Republic is fully committed to establishing robust legal, policy, and administrative mechanisms to enhance the country’s road safety performance and achieve the targets outlined in the National Development Strategy (NDS) 1.
“In January of this year, we conducted the National Road Safety Indaba, which concluded that speed limiting devices, vehicle tracking devices, and a government-monitored Vehicle Tracking System should be implemented for all public service buses. The Vehicle Tracking System will ensure compliance with prescribed speed limits and facilitate real-time identification of specific bus drivers. As a result, legal frameworks to introduce speed limiting and monitoring devices will be introduced soon,” Mhona said.
Minister Mhona expressed his dedication to improving traffic laws and establishing an ICT system to curb reckless behavior within the country.
“We are committed to enhancing the enforcement capacity of all traffic law enforcement agents by embracing Information Communication Technology (ICT) and digital technologies to record violations and enforce traffic regulations. This aligns with the objectives of NDS 1, which aims to modernize the economy through the use of ICT and other digital technologies. Additionally, my ministry will establish a National Call Centre for the public to report unsafe vehicles, as well as instances of negligent and reckless driving,” Mhona said.
The introduction of plastic driver’s licenses will position Zimbabwe alongside neighboring countries such as South Africa, Zambia, and Mozambique, which already employ these plastic polymer licenses.
“The forthcoming new Driver’s License fully complies with the standard specifications of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and East African Community (EAC). This demonstrates our commitment to harmonizing and standardizing driver training, testing, and certification within the 25 Tripartite Regional Countries,” he said.
The other countries include Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, DRC, Angola, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, Djibouti, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, United Republic of Tanzania; Kingdoms of eSwatini and Lesotho; States of Eritrea and Libya; Arab Republic of Egypt; and Federal Democratic Republics of Ethiopia, Somalia, and Zimbabwe.
The plastic licenses will be issued starting from June 19th, and individuals who pass their driving tests will no longer receive a temporary paper license. Instead, they will only have to wait for seven days to obtain their plastic license.
“Once the new Driver’s License System is fully operational, drivers who have successfully passed their Driving Competence Tests will receive their new licenses within seven (7) days. This convenience for our citizens is made possible through the automated processes and instant printing capabilities of this highly secure plastic card,” Mhona concluded.