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THE SOUTH AFRICAN INSTITUTE OF DRIVING INSTRUCTORS

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					THE SOUTH AFRICAN INSTITUTE OF DRIVING INSTRUCTORS
(PRETORIA / TSHWANE)

Pretoria / Tshwane Regional Office P.O. Box 39911 0043 Faerie Glen Pretoria

Tel: (012) 998-3910 Fax: (012) 998-6016 Cell: 082 683 9292 E-mail: saidi@lantic.net

Gauteng Provincial Office P.O. Box 39911 0043 Faerie Glen Pretoria

2006.03.01 Councilor Karen Meyer Tshwane City Council Dear Karen, Re: Problems concerning driver’s / learner’s licence test appointments in Gauteng. As the official body representing qualified driving instructors in Pretoria, we are quite desperate about the shortage of driver’s and learner’s licence test appointments. The Provincial Call Centre (086 042 88364) was started five years ago in order to:

• Stop corruption • Centralize bookings on the eNaTIS system to prevent duplications. (If students passed one
appointment, they often forgot to cancel other appointments they had booked as a back-up, and were prepared to forgo the amount paid.)

• To eliminate queues at test centres.
As far as we are concerned it has unfortunately failed in many respects.

• Corruption still continues. Block bookings are still being made. • Apparently duplications are still being made by booking both at our call centre and also at
Ekhuruleni (086 035 8358).

• In spite of queues being meant now only for driver’s licence plastic card renewals, our students
are often forced to wait in queues for up to seven hours. (How can driving schools let other students down while doing this? We have businesses to run, and appointments to keep! Students reserve appointments weeks in advance and plan their activities around these appointments.)

PROBLEMS CONCERNING THE PROVINCIAL CALL CENTRE 1. As a result of there being too few examining officers in each of the Driver’s Licence Testing Centres (DTLC) which are listed at our call centre, the staff has been instructed to release the handful of available appointments at an unspecified time during the course of the week. • • • 2. If people cannot obtain a legal driver’s licence appointment no matter what they do, they have no alternative but to resort to corrupt or illegal means - even buying false licences. People who are desperate for work are going to rationalize that the job is necessary for the survival of the whole family, so they will be prepared, even compelled, to break the law to get a false licence to secure employment. Pretoria has a duty and responsibility to allow ratepayers to be tested locally!

Instructors, parents and applicants are all compelled to phone every hour from 8H00 to 16H00 from Monday to Friday to try to obtain an appointment for an opportunity to pass their driver’s or learner’s licences legally. Surely the poorest of the poor living in informal settlements with a cell phone and a pre-paid card cannot afford to book a driver’s licence test? A call-box is also not a solution. Other people waiting in the queue will not take kindly to one person staying on the phone for hours to secure an appointment. This puts tremendous strain on the telephone system, and everyone is complaining about their telephone accounts being sky high after phoning for four to eight weeks daily, hour by hour without success. A student used three phones simultaneously blocking 3 lines until they were successful! Driving schools have resorted to using six phones simultaneously to prevent anyone else from getting the appointments. Block bookings are apparently still being made by under the table arrangements between certain driving schools and officials. Another issue is that appointments are apparently released one week at a time, but all of a sudden, there are only appointments a month further on! We have a rough idea about the dates available at any given time from booking we hear about. Then suddenly, inexplicably three weeks of appointments disappear. Not enough transparency here! If we advise a student who has already been allocated a test appointment to postpone their test because they are not yet at test standard, the cancelled appointment is wasted, and not offered to someone waiting. (We may not ask for that appointment for another client either!) The cancellations which are available come from people having been allocated an appointment with a reference number, which they failed to confirm within five working days. Every morning lists of confirmations are faxed to the call centre. We are told that unconfirmed bookings are put back in the system. So why then are the test centres under-utilized? Pretoria has only two testing centres, Waltloo and Irene/Centurion, which no longer meet the requirements of the public. There has been no extra facility offered in 25 to 30 years, in spite of a population which has increased dramatically. (Akasia is new but only does learner’s licence tests.) Instructors feel testing on the roads is a viable alternative. Test centres are empty whenever we go there! There is space for 16 examiners at Waltloo and 8 at Centurion. The most we know of is six at Waltloo and fewer at Centurion since 2003! If one considers the numbers of learners passed per year, the appointments available are nowhere near sufficient to meet the requirements. Official statistics about five years ago quoted 30,000 learner’s licences being issued in Pretoria and Centurion. If we calculate 6 examiners at Waltloo and four at Centurion, i.e. 10 doing eight tests per day (80) multiplied by five weekdays (400) clearly the backlog is a very long way from being met. All efforts by SAIDI to establish precisely how many examining officers are employed at every Municipality in Gauteng have been avoided. We have been unable to obtain contact details for every DLTC in the Province to approach them directly for this information.

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If South Africa is serious about addressing the death statistics, then why make it difficult to obtain a legal driver’s licence? It will not compel people to use dangerous unreliable public transport if they have any chance at all of driving a car. They will just buy licences very easily. The driving instructors and driving schools who do operate legally in our own city struggle to exist namely because: There are many driving instructors who do not obey the legal requirements. They drive cars which are not sign marked with the name and number of the driving school. There is nothing which prevents illegal driving instructors from taking their unsuspecting students to the test centres to be tested. Instructors are not required to produce a valid instructor’s certificates before their students can be tested. (The argument being that they could be a family member or friend). In the event of the instructor’s certificate expiring we are required to reapply before the expiry date, and carry the receipt as proof of having done so. Their vehicles are often not equipped with dual controls. However, they find appointments in every remote corner of the country. Many instructors rather travel to Limpopo and other Provinces to ensure that they will provide a reliable service to their pupils.

SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEMS: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Many more examiners need to be released into the system. Money needs to be allocated to building new testing centres. Corruption must be addressed continuously. Surely Email bookings are the modern/best way to book appointments? How would it work for the underprivileged people who might not have access to all electronic and/or computerised facilities? An effort should be made to allow for the fair allocation of all appointments; we recommend that this is done on a first come first serve basis, one appointment at a time.

Please can we request your urgent assistance in this matter which is of great concern to all Pretoria residents? Kind regards, Patricia Anne Allen (Chairperson) 082 683 9292 Pieter Maree (Treasurer) 083 455 0396


				
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