Gauteng driving school operators call for scrapping of online drivers booking system
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Johannesburg – Driving school operators in Gauteng, who are calling for the scrapping of the online drivers booking system, have vowed to continue protesting until their demands are met.
National Driving School Association of SA (NDSASA) members shut down the Sandton licensing department in Marlboro, on Thursday, calling for the online driving licence booking system in Gauteng to be scrapped.
The action intensified on Friday, when members protested outside about 38 driving licence testing centres (DLTCs) across Gauteng and blocked motorists from entering and leaving.
The NDSASA said the protest action – set continue until NDSASA’s demands were responded to – came after it handed a memorandum to the Transport Department on February 15.
National chairperson Abel Mositsa said the memorandum called for the online booking system to be placed on hold because its members and the public were unable to secure booking slots on the system. “It’s not working for us, the public, or anyone,” he said.
Even government officials and municipal officers were struggling to secure time slots and had allegedly been forced to go outside the province to renew their driving licences, he said.
In December, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula extended the grace period to renew expired driving licences until August 31. Mositsa said before the Covid-19 pandemic, bookings were done according to regions in the province – City of Ekurhuleni customers would book on Mondays, City of Tshwane customers on Tuesdays and City of Joburg customers on Wednesdays.
“They’ve changed it. Now everyone books on a specific day, Tuesday. This means the whole of Gauteng will be booking on Tuesdays and the system will get overloaded and slow.”
Driving schools and the public had to wait for hours to secure booking slots, he said.
Mositsa said the department was also requested to make exceptions regarding Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (Aarto Act) fines that were allegedly blocking licence renewal applicants.
“If you have a ticket under the Aarto Act, the system won’t allow you to renew your licence until you make a payment. However, we are in a pandemic and many people have lost their jobs so they don’t have money to go renew their driving licences,” he said.
Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) acting spokesperson Margret Makgae said yesterday the RTMC had noted the protests by the driving school operators. “We will respond once we have all the information.”
The system was introduced to clamp down on corruption and long queues at driving licence test centres.