Motorists have been warned not to wait until the last minute to apply for the new licence now that the department of transport has extended the deadline by two months.

Motorists have been warned not to wait until the last minute to apply for the new licence now that the department of transport has extended the deadline by two months.

"People must not think that this extension is an opportunity to wait until the last moment to convert -- the law will deal with people who do not comply," Western Cape transport MEC Tasneem Essop said.

There are fears that this will happen, as the queues at the traffic departments immediately ended once the extension was given.

“I have a really bad feeling that the same thing will happen in the that last week of April. I sincerely hope I’m wrong,” Peter Beets, Western Cape director for roads administration, told the .

“After the reprieve announcement, people disappeared so quickly at some conversion centres that one would never have thought that there had been so much chaos just hours earlier. At some centres the extra staff members seemed useless,” he said.

Western Cape traffic departments still have to process 175 000 motorists and will have to go through 4 000 applications a day to make the April 30 deadline.

By 9am on Friday, about 1,19 million drivers had not yet converted to the new licence. The highest number was in Gauteng, with 535 000. Northern Cape was at the bottom of the list, with about 19 300 motorists still without the new licence.

Acting transport minister Jeff Radebe said existing facilities could handle 480 000 conversions in the next two months, leaving a shortfall of more than 500 000.

He said this problem would be solved by creating additional facilities in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Pietermaritzburg. The department said it would first expand existing facilities, especially where there were bottlenecks.

Meanwhile, Automobile Association said it would continue its legal fight if the department of transport went ahead with its plan to nullify the licences of motorists who did not change to the credit-card licence.

An AA spokesman said they would meet the transport department for clarity on the matter.