Relief for motorists as licensing centres return to work

Relief for motorists as licensing centres return to work

There is relief among Gauteng motorists after some of the driving licence testing centres were opened on Tuesday after two weeks of a shutdown that had been instigated by driving schools operators.

The operators had been on a long-standing protest against the new online booking system the transport department has introduced.

The new system, which is the upgrade of eNatis, introduced by the Road Traffic Management System, does not allow driving schools to secure slots on behalf of their clients.

The booking slots for renewal of drivers’ licences and tests had previously provided extra revenue for the schools.

Operations resumed this morning at Langlaagte testing centre, with many motorists arriving to update their documentation.

Truck driver Nhlakanipho Mayaba said his professional driver permit expired on January 29 and he could not renew it.

“By that time I had already applied for a new permit. Somehow my employers allowed me to drive but it was risky. I was not that scared that my document had expired because everyone knows that the centres were closed. I am so relieved that the centre is open.

“It is unfortunate that we had to suffer for something that we did not even know or understand. I still don’t know why they closed the centres,” said Mayaba.

Another motorist, Nelson Mncube, was also relieved as he has been waiting for his vehicle licence disc which expired at the end of February.

“I was obviously scared of driving a car that has an expired disc as you know that police have a right to impound the vehicle. I am so relieved that I have been able to get my new disc,” Mayaba said.

Operations also returned to normal in Midrand, with driving schools operators standing outside and not interfering with the work of the centre.

On Monday, transport minister Fikile Mbalula announced that all centres would open after he gave instructions for MEC Jacob Mamabolo to meet with the National Driving Schools Association of SA which had organised the shutdown and find a solution.

Mbalula lashed at the driving schools owners who intimidated workers at the licensing centres as they tried to stop them from doing their duties.

The driving schools threatened to continue to close down centres despite Mbalula’s announcement.

About his meeting with the driving schools association, Mamabolo said: “We have a court order. If anyone tries to violate it, the law must take its course. We had a very good meeting. I believe they have a case… Between February 18 and March 1, eNatis was down. They are not lying about that. I have established that it is true.

“When eNatis came back, it came back with some changes that are not friendly to them.”

He added that he would meet with the RTMC to get feedback on the issues raised before he meets the driving schools again on Tuesday.

»Relief for motorists as licensing centres return to work«

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