CAR LICENCE PAINS: More than 35 000 motorists have gripes with the process of renewing their car licences. Image: Sergio Davids
Cape Town - Major changes to SA vehicle and driver licensing has caused a huge backlog as administrations (traffic departments etc) in SA battle to cope.
On February 5, the City of Johannesburg’s Licensing Department reports it's on track to clear backlogs affecting thousands of motorists.
Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) spokesperson, Superintendent Edna Mamonyane, said the backlogs had almost been cleared although the Randburg and Marlboro licensing centres were still experiencing high volumes of clients.
Mamonyane said: "This is about loyalty. People have been using these centres for a long time. They were reluctant to go to other centres despite our advice.
"From now on, bulk renewals of five up to 100 vehicles will be processed at our Loveday and Village licensing centres. We no longer take cash so the car dealers can pay via debit cards or bank guaranteed cheques."
Vote - car-licence renewal
We asked users "what's your biggest gripe when renewing your car licence?" and a News24 poll garnered 35 433 votes:
Long queues, lack of tellers - 6115 votes
No licence-renewal notice - 5459 votes
Poorly trained staff -1302 votes
The process is complicated - 647 votes
All of the above - 21910 votes
About 17% (6115 votes) of users said 'long queues, lack of tellers' were their biggest gripe; 5459 drivers said a lack of licence-renewal notices was the second highest pet peeve of users followed by 'poorly trained staff at licensing centres' in third.
Only 647 believe the process is complicated.
A whopping 21 910 believe a combination of all of the above leads to frustration at licensing departments.
Wheels24 users respond:
Wheels24 has received dozens of emails from users sharing their frustrations and experiences at traffic departments.
Charmaine Fareed: In Durban the experience is the same as the other provinces. I tried four times to get my licence but queues were far too long. Eventually I went to the Westville Post Office at 7.30am were there were 20 people waiting. As staff were aware that the process would be a long wait for customers they put out chairs and a fan.
The actual time to get your licence is not long if you have the required documents, but I still had to wait two hours. The entire system needs to be addressed as employers are not going to give staff hours off to buy a car licence.
Iain Sias: I just want to say I did my renewals at Boksburg Licensing department last Thursday. The person behind the counter was very friendly, helpful and efficient. Sorry I didn't get her name but the service was excellent.
Dee Robinson: Being able to renew a car licence disc at a post office is a huge blessing – a thousand times better and faster than doing it at a licensing station (assuming they’re open/not on strike/computers are working/toilets have water, etc, etc).
It’s only a hassle if you’re a moron and/or don’t plan and/or are disorganised/lazy.
For example, I knew when the licence was due to expire because I actually bothered to look at the disc on my windscreen (couldn’t be a handier place and the expiry date is both visible and legible).
I didn’t do the South African thing of sitting on my a**e waiting for somebody else to remind me and then getting all hissy when they don’t.
So, I then took a pen! (yes, my very own pen. EVERYONE knows that post offices/banks and other public offices never have pens or pens that work), plus a copy of the previous year’s licence print out (for engine/VIN number reference) and photocopies of my ID and proof of residence to a post office.
It took me 10 minutes to fill in the renewal form and a little wait in the queue to get to the counter. The counter clerk was polite and efficient and the paying/printing process took about another 10 minutes. So ja, it was half an hour of my life that I’ll never get back plus maybe half an hour of advance preparation (putting a pen in my bag, photocopying two pieces of paper) but confusing? Frustrating? Irritating?
Get a life people! Get organised! There are far, far worse tragedies in South Africa than simply getting a car-licence disc. Eish!
Erica Mackie: I purchased a new car in December and as the licensing departments were closed in December for the holidays I could only register my car in January, unfortunately my old car could also not be registered in the new owners name and I had to pay for the licence disc as if had expired. I went to Centurion testing grounds.
The service in received there was fantastic. There was a "tannie" who would come out to the queue every few minutes to check peoples documentation and to advise them on the procedure. I unfortunately did not have my proof of residence with me and was waiting for a friend to bring it to me.
When they arrived I was promptly helped by the cashier. A painless exercises for me. Thumbs up to Centurion Testing Grounds. Let's hope they keep it up.