Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has expressed concern at preliminary investigations suggesting that corruption is the reason for the unavailability of booking slots at various Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs) in Gauteng.
“The difficulties experienced by citizens in booking slots through the online platform is serious cause for concern. We are gravely concerned that preliminary investigations suggest that corruption is the principal driver of lack of availability of booking slots in various DLTCs across Gauteng,” Mbalula said.
On Friday, the Minister met with authorities involved in DLTCs operations across all three spheres of government in Gauteng, following complaints about operations in the province.
The meeting was aimed at improving service delivery and enhancing efficiency in the functioning of DLTCs.
“The objectives of the meeting today is to take stock of the challenges and agree on decisive interventions that effectively address the challenges facing Gauteng and its DLTCs, managed by local authorities.
“Gauteng is the first of these engagements, as the challenges are more pronounced here, than in any other province,” the Minister said.
He said the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), working closely with provincial and local authorities, is looking into the matter.
Interventions, said the Minister, must deliver a system that improves efficiency, eliminates corruption and modernises processes so as to eliminate the need for end-users to queue at DLTCs.
“Post our engagements, we will unpack the modalities of these interventions and commit to firm timelines on the rollout.
“In addressing the backlogs arising as a consequence of the COVID-19 restrictions during different alert levels, operating hours at DLTCs occupy the spotlight, and requires our immediate attention, while remaining alive to basic conditions of employment, which includes overtime,” Mbalula said.
The Department of Transport is paying particular attention to the rollout of online services in a manner that improves efficiencies and minimises the time the end-user spends in a queue.
“The ultimate end goal is to eliminate these queues, once the full bouquet of online services has been successfully rolled out by the RTMC. Following the declaration of the State of Disaster due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, we issued directions on the operations of DLTCs in an effort to curb the spread of the pandemic through these centres,” the Minister said.
The department extended the validity of vehicle licence discs, temporary permits and roadworthy certificates that expired during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020 up to 31 May 2020 for a period that ended on 31 August 2020.
“This period has not been extended beyond this date and motorists are expected to comply with the law and renew their vehicle licence discs.
“Validity of learner’s licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits that expired during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020 up to 31 December 2020, was extended for a further period ending on 31 August 2021,” the Minister said.
Out of the 2 465 439 vehicle licence disks that expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2020, 90.3% of these have since been renewed.
This leaves a total of 239 087 vehicles without valid licence discs on the roads.
“It is important to note that the Gauteng percentage of vehicle disc renewals stands at 89.6%, below a national average of 90.6%.
“Similarly, out of the 4 856 636 vehicle licence disks that expired between 30 September 2020 and 31 January 2021, Gauteng accounts for 85.4% renewal, below the national average of 86.1%.
“In a nutshell, of the 7.1 million vehicles due for renewal between March 2020 and January 2021, 6.3 million have been renewed,” the Minister said.
Out of the 900 000 discs that have yet to be renewed, 250 000 of these are in Gauteng.