Driving schools want online licence booking system scrapped

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Driving school operators in Gauteng are demanding the scrapping of the online drivers' licence booking system.

Members of the National Driving School Association of SA (NDSASA) have been protesting since Friday, vowing to continue with the demonstration, saying the system has failed them because it creates backlogs, as bookings can be made online only once a week.

The group says the online booking system is inefficient and crippled by corruption, claiming they are battling to make online appointments for licences and renewals.

The Department of Transport and Road Traffic Management Corporation introduced the system to allow online bookings for learner's and driver's licence tests, renewal of driving licence cards, and public driving permits in Gauteng.

The objectives of the new system were not only to modernise services offered at the driving licence testing centres, but also to remove barriers to access and reduce opportunities for corrupt practices.

However, NDSASA says the system has failed to live up to expectations.

“This online booking system is not working at all. It’s not helping anyone. It’s not helping the public or our members, which are the driving schools,” Abel Mositsa, chairperson of NDSASA told SABC TV yesterday.

“So we sent a memorandum to the Department of Transport, to come and assist the members and the public as well. It’s unfortunate the department is not willing to assist; that’s why we have seen the marches in all (licensing centre) areas.

“We have been trying to get the department or someone from the department to come and sit down with us. We submitted the memorandum on 15 February and we gave them seven days to respond to our memorandum,” he said.

“The memorandum was expiring on the 24th. No one responded to our memorandum; in fact, we got an invite to a meeting as driving schools. That meeting was useless; the meeting was to teach us about working system. That system is not working at all. We are marching to the department; we want the department to allow walk-ins.”

The NDSASA wants the department to extend the number of days the public can make bookings. Currently, the system only allows bookings on Tuesdays but the group wants this to be extended to three days a week.

The group has also alleged corruption is securing slots, accusing department officials of “selling” the available booking slots.

As drivers struggle to find available dates online, the option to walk into a licensing department to renew a driving licence has become a thing of the past.

As of 1 November 2018, the Gauteng transport department decided all booking applications should be done exclusively online.

The City of Tshwane took a similar decision earlier and moved the services to the online platform.

The department had not responded to ITWeb’s requests for comment by the time of publishing.

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