The Automobile Association (AA) has appealed to government to “fix the broken system” of license renewals in the country. It follows dozens of complaints by motorists who have been struggling to follow due process as a result of inadequate Driving License Testing Centres (DLTC’s).
Speaking to VOC’s Breakfast Beat on Monday, spokesperson Layton Beard said that there has been an increase of complaints about fines in the past three to four weeks. Issues include having to stand in long queus or being turned away for unforeseen reasons. Beard said the problems have been exacerbated by equipment not working at DLTC’s, being under-staffed or having the facility closed down due to COVID-19 being detected.
“Many of these problems were there even before lockdown. We believe that the system for the renewal, not only of license disks but of driver’s license cards, needs serious renewal and a re-think itself. Something has to be done,” stated Beard.
“We are very concerned that come the start of next year, there are going to be many people who don’t have their renewed licenses and are going to be fined through no faults of their own.”
Beard explained that while an electronic system- where applicants can apply online- is used in Kwa-Zulu Natal; “this doesn’t seem to work for everybody.”
“The more people struggle to get licenses, the softer they are as targets which is a big problem for us,” claimed Beard, who noted an influx of traffic officials handing out fines for non-compliance.
The AA had urged immediate action to address the system noting that officials are aware of the aforementioned concerns. Beard added that there should be an investment into the back-end computer systems needed to make the digital shift. Government, Beard said, “must consider out-sourcing some of the functionality to third party agencies for driver’s license and renewals”.
“We believe by (investing), the government will not only ease the pressure on existing Drivers License Testing Centres and those places who issue license disks, but it will make it easier for citizens to remain complaint and stay legal.”
He added that its incumbent on organisations such as the AA and OUTA, as well as citizens, to “make their voices heard”.
“We can’t carry on in the current system, it’s not working for the public and at the end of the day, that’s really who it needs to be working for. We would like to get to a situation where we are working to get these things sorted.”
Meanwhile, the department of energy has confirmed that the price of petrol will be decreasing at midnight on Tuesday. Both 93 and 95 octane is expected to drop by 23 and 32 cents respectively, diesel by 93 cents and Illuminating Paraffin by R1.01