In an article on Techzim, I made a case for the Zimbabwean government’s Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) to start issuing plastic driver’s licences. This is because while the government has so far stubbornly stuck with metal disc licences they have failed to clear the massive backlog they currently face at the moment and it doesn’t look like they will be able to clear that backlog anytime soon thanks to technological issues. It seems the government has finally listened and will start issuing plastic driver’s licences soon.

The ministry throught CVR is in the process of moving form the old metal disc to a new plastic disc. The oldmetal disc technology and equipment is now obsolete.

The proposed new disc is complient with the COMESA,EAC and SADC Tripartite region. We urge our valued citizens to bear with us in our transtion from the old to the new SADC compliant driver’s license disc. This process is expected to be completed by the end of June.

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Transport Minister Felix Mhona speaking on the issue

Not proactive

It is pleasing to note that the Zimbabwean government is doing the inevitable but it is also very disappointing to note the lack of proactivity that Zimbabwe often displays in these issues. The only reason why the government is finally doing it is that they have no choice. Everyone else is now doing it. This is despite the fact that we could have made the switchover earlier when the metal disc backlog started to bite. Honestly, I don’t expect the government to meet the deadlines on this on its own. Don’t be surprised if we still don’t have any plastic license discs come July.

I am always suspicious of government deals with private companies as its the stuff that oligarchs are made of but the deal between the government and the company providing passports has really been beneficial with efficiency greatly improved. This arrangement might offer a model on how the government can proceed with license discs and everything else. For example, we have been waiting for ZBC to go digital for years. While we are technically there the bulk of the country is still using analogue signals.

Plastic discs are the future. They are easy to print, can be made scannable and have biometric chips embedded. Those who claim that metal discs are durable are missing the big picture in a fire neither plastic discs nor metal discs would survive. There is absolutely no good reason to use metal discs except nostalgia.