Executive mayor Solly Msimanga with MMC for community safety Derrick Kissoonduth at the Akasia licensing centre. Picture: Jacques Naude / Independent Media.
Pretoria - Executive mayor Solly Msimanga on Wednesday expressed his concern at the slow pace of service delivery to the public when he visited the Akasia licensing centre.

Staff shortages partly contributed to the long queues and the unsatisfactory services rendered to the public, he said.

The mayor admitted that licensing stations in the city were not operating at 100% optimum. “There are a number of contributing factors, such as the shortage of staff,” he said.

He also singled out the shortage of equipment like the eye testing machines and computers for data capturing purposes.

Msimanga’s visit to the centre was part of his duties to perform an oversight role on the type of services rendered by officials to the public.

The centre has been swamped by motorists after three other licensing centres closed.

The motorists told the Pretoria News they joined the queues as early as 5am with the hope of being served before the cut-off number of 200 people per day.

The Akasia, Waltloo and Centurion licence departments had been broken into over the past four months and equipment required to provide licensing services stolen.

Msimanga said: “It is not ideal to have people coming to the centre to be standing in a queue for three to four hours.”

One of the city’s priorities was to fill critical vacancies.

Msimanga also expressed his concern that robbers who recently broke in at the city licensing stations had motives to sabotage service delivery in the capital under the DA-led administration.

Msimanga said: “I still do believe it is sabotage. Unfortunately for security reasons we can’t show you everything.

“But when you start analysing what has been taken and what was left behind you realise this can never be opportunistic thuggery.

“If somebody leaves a R500 000 piece of machine and takes a R2000 piece of machine, what does that tell you?” he asked.

Robbers targeting the centres took “exactly what they know will cause the greatest of damage to the city”, the mayor said.

In Centurion, the robbers knew that by damaging cubicles they would render 80% of the functionality of the municipality redundant.

During the break-in in Akasia, he said, there was nothing stolen due to the quick response by metro police and SAPS. The robbers tried to open the safe but failed.

Msimanga said the city had prioritised that all security and safety measures be enhanced speedily to prevent the recurrence of these incidents.

Plans were in the pipeline to install security technology inside and outside the centre, he said.

Msimanga said the security intervention would also be rolled out to all other licensing centres within the city. He announced that the city had finalised the refurbishment of the Cullinan licensing centre, adding it would soon be operational.

Pretoria News

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