The Democratic Alliance welcomes the move to online bookings for learner’s and driving licences in Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, but backlogs need to be addressed.
Transport MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe must ensure that Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs) in BCM, and across the province, are capacitated to deal with the growing backlog for learner and driving licenses.
It is clear that the current licencing centres cannot handle the existing workload.
The online booking system will definitely shorten the queues at the DLTCs and will eliminate drivers having to take numerous days off work.
However, there is a concern that this system will be further exacerbated by corrupt officials entrusted with the online booking system, who block slots and then sell these to those prepared to pay bribes.
The DA has been calling for the implementation of an online booking system for years, and was the first to implement the system in Nelson Mandela Bay under the coalition of good governance, implemented by then Safety MMC, DA Cllr. John Best.
What we learnt from the pilot online booking system in Nelson Mandela Bay was:
- It reduced the queue outside the DLTCs.
- It minimized time spent at the centres.
- It is a more efficient system.
- It limits the scope for corruption.
- Slots cannot be duplicated.
The department should also be looking at extending operating hours of DLTCs, to include operating on Saturdays and Sundays, as was done in Nelson Mandela Bay under former Mayor, DA Cllr. Nqaba Bhanga, to reduce the backlog.
I am appealing to MEC Tikana-Gxothiwe to engage with the Minister of Transport for a further extension of the grace period for motorists whose licences have expired, as there is an ever-increasing backlog of licences that needs to be processed.
Then DA once again welcomes this initiative as a step in the right direction towards embracing the fourth industrial revolution.