Licensing nightmare

On top of the huge backlog of motorists’ licensing applications in Madibeng, the inability of motorists to access the services and the total chaos at the licensing centres in Brits and Hartbeespoort, the municipality ran out of marked vehicle license paper and operations ground to a halt for a week. The municipality had allegedly failed to pay the service provider.

The queue at the Brits licensing office on Thursday.

Trying to renew your vehicle’s license, driver’s license or even collections, has become a nightmare. The licensing centre in Brits only allow 150 people per day, and the Hartbeespoort office only 50. And it does not matter if everyone is assisted, long before the close of day, the doors are closed! Kormorant visited the licensing centre on Thursday last week to experience first hand what is happening. Upon arrival at 10:00, not even 50 people were in the queue. However, people who wanted to collect driver’s licenses were sent away and told “collections are closed.”

Although motorists have time till the end of January 2021 to renew driver’s licenses, vehicle license amnesty expired in September and traffic officials have no mercy. Kormorant has spoken to several motorists who have been fined for expired licenses. “Although they are aware of the problems, they just don’t care. I have been trying for two months to get my vehicle license disc. After queuing for two days, I contacted a service provider, but still don’t have the new disc,” a motorist said. Another said he was told by a traffic official that there was pressure on them to fine motorists driving with expired vehicle licenses.”

Licensing service providers have become the go-to for desperate motorists who cannot take days off to queue, but they definitely have no easier time. Kormorant spoke to a number of service providers about the obstacles motorists face. “If you bribe, your applications are processed speedily. If you don’t, your applications are placed at the bottom of the heap. I refuse to bribe someone to do his job. The only problem is that my clients become impatient and don’t believe me anymore. They think we don’t do our jobs. It is an absolute nightmare at the moment,’ one says.

“Yes, I slip a R100 every now and then I have to admit. I am sitting with over a 100 applications and it is sometimes the only way, or I will lose my clients,” another said.

“We are trying as hard as we can, but understandably clients expect results and don’t want to know about the absolute chaos at Madibeng’s licensing offices. However, people have now started blaming service providers on social media, causing mistrust. I would suggest Madibeng have a rotation of staff working overtime to address the backlog until operations return to normal.”

Kormorant has asked the municipality to comment on the situation, but they did not respond.