Level 3 lockdown: Frustration as Joburg licence centres stay shut
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Johannesburg - A number of Johannesburg motorists couldn’t renew their driving licence or complete other obligations at various licence departments on Tuesday, despite the government’s promise of opening them in lockdown level 3.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula had announced that licence departments and testing stations were to resume operations under level 3, which became effective on Monday. Mbalula said that licence departments would be opened under strict coronavirus health guidelines. However, motorists returned home in disappointment on discovering that only a portion of the licence departments had resumed operations.
Mpho Rakgalakane said the department should have at least published a list of the departments that were ready to serve the public.
“I went to the Bedfordview licence department only to find it still closed. I was hoping to renew my driving licence. We are hoping that they open soon after completion of the necessary disinfection,” he said.
Another motorist from Midrand, Simphiwe Msibi, said he wasn’t able to renew his licence disc, since the nearest centre was closed. “I didn’t know that the disinfection process would still be take place, but I'll make arrangements to travel to the ones which have resumed operations.”
Ekurhuleni metro spokesperson, Themba Gadebe, said the public would be notified on Friday of the exact date for resumption of licensing services in Ekurhuleni, while all licence departments underwent disinfection.
“We are preparing to open our licensing centres as provided for in the level 3 regulations. Currently, measures for hygiene, disinfection control, social distancing and sanitising are being put in place.”
Road and Traffic Management Control spokesperson Simon Zwane said licence departments needed to comply with the regulations set out by the Department of Labour and Employment. “We need to take into account that these are workplaces as well. So we need to ensure that employees are safe first and then we can open to the public under strict guidelines,” he said.
In the City of Johannesburg, only four licence centres began operating on Tuesday after meeting health measures and approved for resumption. They are the Sandton and Roodepoort, Dube and Wemmer offices.
Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport spokesperson Theo Nkonki said the department was aware of the confusion and would soon issue a directive on the guidelines.