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SA car licence renewal pain: Users respond

2016-02-02 16:10

HUGE BACKLOG: SA is facing a huge backlog of drivers attempting to renew expired vehicle licences. Image: Wheels24 / Sean Parker

Cape Town - In November 2015, Wheels24 reported that proof of residence is  required for renewing vehicle and driver licences in South Africa.

The City of Cape Town also reported no vehicle licence-renewal notifications would be sent out during the holiday season.

Sadly, the major changes to SA vehicle and driver licensing has caused a huge backlog as administrations battle to cope.

Read: SA car licence renewal confusion - 5 questions answered

Wheels24 has received dozens of emails from users sharing their frustrations and experiences at traffic departments.

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post had her own battles trying to renew her motor vehicle licence.

3-day wait

Van der Post says: "It took me three days to have my licence renewed because the local municipality office was completely full during January 2015. For three days I faced the same problem - a huge queue of about 30 people ahead, lining-up for two available tellers.

"Given time constraints I was forced to leave each day without renewing my licence. Since my last renewal I have changed my marital status. I also have no current proof of address registered to my new surname.

"When I eventually reached the teller on the third day - after an hour-and-a-half in the queue - I handed over my 'green form' and my drivers licence registered to my maiden name. The teller requested a current identification document and I explained I only had my 'married name I.D'. Luckily, she accepted it and then said she would load my proof of residence when I bring back my marriage certificate 'next time'. I guess I'll have to deal with that in 2017..."

"So many people are forced to take a day off from work to go through this painful process."

Here's what users say:

Debbie Peter: Long queues at Milnerton. First day out the door! Could not wait.
Second time stood in the queue, took over an hour. Really frustrated as I live out the country, car parked in garage, I have not even driven and was penalised for allowing my license to expire. Bureau is not interested in any explanation. It's bit of a joke really.

Mrs A M Manuel: Ok enough with all the opinions, how about some answers? I am a widow and a pensioner and when my kids left to live and work overseas, they gave me their car to use. My child cannot come home just to renew the car licence. I have had to move in the meantime and cannot change the address for the car as he has to be personally present. 

So what is the answer to this problem please. How am I going to change the address and obtain a new licence without the registered owner of the car living outside the country?

Read: SA car licence renewal confusion - 5 questions answered


Chris Jooste: We live in Somerset West and I decided to apply online, via the City of Cape Town’s website to renew our licenses which expired on 31/12/2016, giving me 21 days to renew (until 21/01/2016). My application was made on 30/12/2015. On 8/01/2016 I paid the required amount via EFT as requested and received an email that I will receive the discs in 8 days.

Numerous phone calls to the CoCT from 18/01/2016 to try and establish where the discs were, went unanswered. On some days the phone was only ringing ad infinitim. We only received the discs on 28/01/2016, 7 days after the discs expired.

I will never make use of this service again, and would rather stand in the queue in order to ensure that my licence discs are received before it expires!

Peter Jordaan: From a point of view of common sense, the constitution and the law. The government and its people are civil servants. That means that they are there to serve the public. Part of service to the public is to make things as easy and user friendly as possible.

From the way this whole problem is approached and handled it is like the public service has become the public serpent and are out to make the public the enemy ... Huh!? Surely we can do better than this!


Have you experienced long queues or delays while renewing your vehicle licence disc?Share your experience with us.

Mark vn Vuuren: I did not receive a renewal form, with the result that on 4 occasions I headed to the post office (3 cars 1 motorcycle with different renewal dates), to stand in a queue, filling out a form (and these forms were not always available), calculating that the average time was between 3 & 4 minutes per applicant being served at the single dedicated booth.

Think 20 people in front of you … No sense of urgency by postal staff. The time problem was increased when some traffic fines had to be paid before the licence was issued, and the applicant disputed this. Some fines ran up in the thousands.

My complaints
1. This process is inefficient: the post office would do well to understand how long the average transaction takes (vs. should take), and respect an efficient benchmark.
2. Paying R36 per transaction fee in perpetuity; a reasonable person would conclude this is a licence for authorised theft. Why not double it, or make it R360? The public will abide.
3. The licence fees are quite steep, and the real issue is value-for-money:

  • What is the purpose of the licence payment since the roads are awful, with traffic breaches occurring all around me?
  • There’s a general fear that a traffic officer is anything but a public servant.

4. Calling the post office to resolve a query or enquire how long said licence queue is  – my calls were not answered (but it’s nice to know the automatic cut-off works, so at least some things do work).

Zaaid Moola: I paid for my licence but because of outstanding fee on another vehicle they did not issue my disc. After paying my arrears I asked for my disc. I was told to refill new forms because everyday a new file is created.

Just to issue my disc - which I have a receipt - why must I go through the whole process again? Surely this is oppression in a different form?

L Venter, Cape Town: I find it interesting that someone would mention that the post office is one of the reasons why we are not getting our licence renewal forms.
But when we go to purchase our licence we need to take a utility bill as proof of payment.

SA Post Office delivers my council utility bill & my monthly bank statement without any problem but cannot deliver my licence renewal once a year. eNaTis is one big rip-off, how much did it cost, and why does the city council post the licence renewal, they send me my utility bill on time every time.

MC Cloete: Standing in queues since 4.45 in the morning at the Richards Bay Traffic License Office to ensure that I can get in first when the office open at 07.30. At 06.00 I counted how many people in the queue - 60!  Disgusting. People stand in this heat for hours without shade. 

Mellisa Smith: I was also one the the people whose license expires on 31 Dec. I was away on holiday and when I returned in Jan I went to renew my license at Kuils River. I went there every day for 4 days because when I arrived there the lines were till outside of the building. I came on different times but it was full every day. On the 4th day I decided to stand in the long queue because time was running out.

I stood there for about two hours at first there was only one teller and only after an hour the second teller came. This is a disgrace that one has to wait so long there are elderly and disabled people also in the lines and it's as if nobody cares u just have to wait.

As I was standing there one lady addressed the issue with someone in charge and said she at numerous occasions asked that this issue be addressed this lady just said there is nothing she can do you will just have to wait. Worst service every. 

Edgar Filter: What a suffering, can't we all just drive without licence disks until things become normal again?

If the Post Office is not working, and the Lic office is becoming confused, why must we as citizens of this country, still try and drive a car with a disc? Everything is not working anymore, WHY? Incompetent people.

As a owner of 40 vehicles, including tractors and trailers, on the farm, it has become clear: CANCEL the licence! Why still stand in queue to pay for a licence disk where a tractor only drives around on the farm?

Its maybe only R 136 per year, but on my cheque, it will be R4000 less for the government next year. WHY, because they said we can only licence five vehicles at a time when we get to the front of the queue to keep it fair to everybody.
BULL**** ... Ek is gedaan met die Nasie!

Good service

Donsi Madonsela: I renewed my license disc in Greytown KZN ,the staff is very helpful and well dedicated, raise the flag. It took me less than 20 minutes even though the queue was longer than expected. Well done guys keep up the good work, very efficient team.   

Ian Harrison: Went to the post office, clerk gave me the correct form. I filled it in, gave her my old licence document and the money and walked out with my new licence after 10 minutes.

Mark Henley: Went to Goodwood today to renew. 30 minute process. Easy peasy. Friendly staff.

Pat Wiscombe: I went to the Strand offices, there were about six people in front of me. The queue moved moved quickly. I handed over my drivers license and ID, PLUS a statement of the only account that I have and in no time walked out with my new license. 

I do not have an utilities account as I am in rented property and the water and electricity is included in the rent.


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