Pretoria – Backlogs at driving licence centres and rampant corruption will soon be a thing of the past, according to Roads and Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo.
He told the Pretoria News there was a massive backlog which was growing as the festive season approached. This was exacerbated by rampant corruption as officials chased “brown envelopes” in exchange for services.
He said the backlog stood at around 30 000 people who needed to be assisted.
In order to iron out the issues and reduce numbers, there would be a meeting today with the Road Traffic Management Corporation, City of Tshwane and other officials critical to the process.
Mamabolo said booking slots was the biggest problem. “It is not correct that the public wanting licence renewal slots are unable to book those slots. Any time a person wants a slot, they must be able to get the slot; the date might be an issue, but the slot must be there.”
Another issue was that the units used for eye tests were often broken or not properly maintained, and therefore, those who got a booking were unable to get the services they needed, worsening the backlog.
He said capacity was also an issue and they would be looking at different driving licence testing centres and see how to allocate a certain number of units for eye tests and staff, including examiners, with a certain capacity being allocated daily to licence renewals.
“We want to explore the possibility of mobile units, and if it is doable, then at what cost we can do it for things such as processing licence renewals on the go and quicker.”
They would also deliberate on whether centres should operate under municipalities or whether the provinces should take them back.
Rampant corruption which had surfaced at centres would also be tackled, according to Mamabolo, who said the meeting would determine whether there would be a forensic investigation.
“We should be able to crack the backlog in no time; by January we will have cracked down and be working. During the festive season, we will also drop the numbers.”
“We will truly crack the whip on these guys, and hard, because they are truly short-handing our services and killing the public’s trust in our system.
“The weakness is, when they are investigated by the province and found to be corrupt, we are told the municipality has to take action, and not us.
“I will take time to find out how many officials were found to be corrupt in each municipality and what action was taken against them.
“We will be dedicating more efforts to solve this matter speedily so as to avoid further backlogs and the public being exposed to incompetent officials,” said Mamabolo.