Govt clarifies driver’s licence conversion

Government has clarified the official policy position pertaining conversion of Zimbabwe Driver’s Licence in the United Kingdom, saying they will only entertain the exchange of Class 4 driver’s licence for those competently tested for driving the light motor vehicles and Class 2 for those driving trucks.

Holders of Class 2 drivers intending to drive light motor vehicles in UK must either come back to Zimbabwe and downgrade or obtain their Class 4 in the United Kingdom.

In a statement, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development confirmed the development.

“The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development through the Central Vehicle Registry in conjunction with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) of the United Kingdom is advising the public of the new policy position about the exchange of the Zimbabwe driver’s licence in the United Kingdom whereby DVLA will only entertain the exchange of Class 4 driver’s licence for those competently tested for driving the light motor vehicles and Class 2 for those driving trucks.

“Holders of Class 2 drivers intending to drive light motor vehicles must either come back to Zimbabwe and downgrade or obtain their Class 4 in the United Kingdom. Those intending to downgrade from Class 2 to Class 4 are required to approach the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) offices for assistance before visiting the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID). Holders of both classes 2 and 4 obtained on different test dates will not be affected. The CVR is encouraging those affected to bring their driver’s licence and be guided accordingly,” reads the statement.

In June last year, Government gazetted new regulations over the recently launched new standard plastic driver’s licence linked to a database that will replace the metal licences and has reset the classes of licence, splitting both the bus and heavy truck classes and adding in a sub-class for tri bikes and quad bikes.

This follows the gazetting of the new regulations, Statutory Instrument 119 of 2023 under the Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations, 2023, by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Felix Mhona.

The new Zimbabwean licence will be scannable and meet the international standards of SADC, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community. In the region, South Africa and some other countries already use plastic licences also known as plastic polymer licences.

The new regulations define the D driving licence code for larger buses, of more than 16 seats with the DE code when it pulls a trailer. The D1 and D1E codes are for buses with more than eight passengers and no more than 16.

The new C and CE codes are for heavy truck of over 7 500kg vehicle mass, with and without trailer, while the C1 and C1E codes are for trucks between 2300kg and 7500kg.

The B and BE codes are for light motor vehicles, under 2300kg, with B1 the code for quad bikes and tri bikes. The A codes are for motor bikes.

Tractor drivers now must use car licences. A bus driver must now have held a vehicle licence for at least five years, and a truck licence for at least another five years, before they can even apply to take to the bus driver tests.

At present, those who pass the Zimbabwe driving tests at VID depots countrywide were immediately issued with a temporary paper licence before obtaining the metal licence a few months later.

One of the advantages of the new plastic licences is that they will be printed instantly and have security features that will make them difficult to forge, as well as being scannable so checks can immediately confirm the authenticity and reveal any legal issues.

The new standard plastic driver’s licence launched in Harare last year to replace the metal licences will clear a backlog of approximately 600 000 applicants who were waiting for their driving licences to be printed and issued since 2019.

The backlog was created by the use of obsolete equipment at the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR), as well as a shortage of materials to produce the costly metal discs.

Drivers will now be able to receive their licence within seven to 10 days from the day they pass their tests and will pay US$5, or the equivalent at the official exchange rate on the day of payment, for the disc.

An online booking platform is available for applicants to make appointments for the capture of biometric details.

Minister Felix Mhona last year launched the new licences as well as the Multilingual Electronic Learner Licence Testing System and the Digital Route Permit System as a fulfilment of the ministry’s 2021 to 2025 Strategic Plan premised on the upgrading and modernisation of the transport sector.

He said the new SADC-compliant drivers’ licence was developed under the Zimbabwe Integrated Transport Management Information System (ZIMTIS) Project.

The ZIMTIS project is a public-private-partnership between the Government of Zimbabwe and 1010 Technologies (Pvt) Ltd.

The overall strategic objective is to create a robust Electronic Integrated Transport Management System to support the vision to become a middle-income economy by the year 2030.


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