The backlog of tour operator license renewals is being processed

THE Department of Transport has assured tourism industry stakeholders that it is racing against time to process all operating licenses.

This follows delays caused primarily by the pandemic, which resulted in capacity issues within the National Public Transport Regulator (NPTR), resulting in a delay in the processing of operating licenses.

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In an effort to address the backlog of renewal applications, the department has increased the capacity of NPTR support staff, adding 17 positions to handle public transportation emergencies.

Department spokesman Collen Msibi said further recruitment was underway, with some processes at an advanced stage.

“We are redesigning and implementing the National Land Transportation Information System (NLTIS) to enable online applications and electronically communicate real-time application status and progress with applicants.

“The designs and proposals that appear in the NPTR module on the redesigned NLTIS are aligned with some of the proposed solutions presented by the National Red Tape Reduction Team and the tourism industry.

“This is intended to improve efficiency and turnaround times to finalize applications. The prolonged absence of an NPTR committee and ambiguities in interpretation, as well as the implementation of the National Land Transport Act, Act 05 of 2009 (NLTA) will now be a thing of the past for many operators.

“An interim NPTR committee has been appointed to deal with the backlog of applications,” he said.

Msibi added that following the appointment of the committee, his department is pleased to report that since early July, the regulator has been printing out licenses and contacting operators to submit properly completed and outstanding documentation to enable smooth running. the processing of requests.

“The newly appointed committee is also committed to mobilizing stakeholders to address industry challenges and grievances.

“The scheduled stakeholder engagements will help create a common understanding and interpretation of the NLTA and its regulations, as well as address specific issues raised by stakeholders to date,” he said.

Msibi explained that tourism remains an important element, especially for the growth of rural and township economies, which must, in turn, be boosted by efficient and integrated transport systems as catalysts for the development of the industry. , the growth of the economy and the reversal of the impacts. of the Covid pandemic.

“Therefore, we want to ensure that it remains an enabler rather than a hindrance to the growth of the tourism industry by improving regulatory and administrative practices for inclusive participation and growth of the sector.

“We will continue to work with the Ministry of Tourism and the industry in this regard,” he said.

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