WHAT'S GOING ON?: JPSA is concerned about the Department of Transport's stance on the proposed implementation date of new licence plates for SA. Image: iStock
Johannesburg - The Department of Transport has denied that it intends to replace vehicle number plates, claiming that the proposal is a fabrication. Wheels24 reported that South African vehicles could sport new number plates as per a Government Gazette published earlier in August.
Curiously, the proposed plates first surfaced six years ago, much like the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offenders (AARTO) system it is moving at a snail's pace towards implementation.
What's the truth behind the proposed licence plates? Can the public trust what's published in a Government Gazette? Wheels24 approached the Justice Project of South Africa for clarity regarding the SA number plate confusion.
Howard Dembovsky, JPSA spokesperson, shares his views:
Since stories of the introduction of a new number plate format applicable to the entire country first started doing the rounds last week, Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) has consistently maintained that the proposed amendments contained in Government Gazette 38430 of 28 January 2015 have not been promulgated yet and therefore, people should avoid “getting their nickers in a knot” about them.
PICS: SA drivers to sport new licence plates
However, JPSA was alarmed to see the comments of the official Transport Department spokesperson, Ishmael Mnisi in an IOL report stating that: “the document that has been doing the rounds is not authentic and neither has the department made a determination to the effect reflected therein.”
He also allegedly said: “We condemn the fabricated document with the contempt it deserves and urge all South Africans to ignore it while we investigate its source”.
How can government streamline the process and avoid confusion about the new South African vehicle registration plates? Share your advice (read: constructive) for the Department of Transport with us!
The alleged non-authentic “fabricated document” referred to is Government Gazette 38430 of 28 January 2015, the download link to which provided by MyBroadband directs users directly to the SA Government website where Government Gazettes may be downloaded by anyone interested in the contents of such gazettes and is regularly used by JPSA and all manner of other people and entities to do so.
READ: 10 things you should know about number plates in SA
Later today however (at 12:39pm), the Department of Transport appeared to have completed its investigation and put out a media release dealing with the draft amendments to number plate regulations contained in that Government Gazette. Therein, it now acknowledges the fact that it has indeed planned amendments to number plate regulations, further saying: “At the end of the Departmental consultation process, the matter will be presented to Cabinet”.
According to the SA Government website at www.gov.za, this "consultation process” came to an end on 28 February 2015.
READ: 'It’s not a done deal' - JPSA responds to new SA number plates
JPSA is very concerned about the fact that it is quite clear that the head does not appear to know what the tail is doing at the Department of Transport. Mr Mnisi’s allegations of fraud, fabrication and rumour-mongering were quite clearly false and the Department of Transport has not so much as had the common decency to apologise for his actions.
While it has become a popular tactic if the Department of Transport and its various State Owned entities to accuse others of “misleading the public”, based upon little more than their own disdain for anyone outside of government, this behaviour is no less distasteful.
We therefore call upon the Minister of Transport to do the responsible thing and issue a formal apology to those who have been insulted and had their integrity slandered by spokespeople for the Department of Transport and others.