It is nearly impossible to get a slot for driver’s license renewals or a new driver’s licence application because of companies with teams of people booking slots on the system.
This was exposed by Rapport who investigated the challenges to book a slot through Gauteng’s online application system.
All Gauteng residents are required to apply online to renew their driving licence card or book a learner’s license test or driving license test.
The online system is aimed at making it more convenient by scheduling a date and time to apply for a new driver’s licence or renew a driver’s licence card.
It is, however, nearly impossible to get a slot anywhere in Gauteng.
The reason, Rapport reported, is that for-profit companies book all the slots available on behalf of clients.
One of these companies – Gauteng License Bookings – charge R200 for driver’s licence renewals, drivers licence bookings, and learners license bookings.
Gauteng Licence Bookings founder Amelia Bezuidenhout explained they started to book slots on behalf of their Driving Academy clients.
They found that their driving school clients struggled to book slots for tests and started to offer this service as a value-add.
They soon realised that there is a desperate need for this service as people do not have time to spend hours in front of a computer to try to book a slot.
Gauteng License Bookings now have a team of people who make bookings on behalf of clients, which include other driving schools and large organisations.
This team, which she describes as a well-oiled machine, secures slots as soon as they become available.
For individuals to get a booking ahead of a company like Gauteng Licence Bookings is very difficult. They are online throughout the day and quick to book any new slots.
Commenting on the struggle for people to book slots, Bezuidenhout said they are not to blame. Instead, a shortage of available slots at testing stations are the cause of the problems.
If enough slots are made available to meet demand, she said, there will not be any problems.
Problems related to driver’s license card renewal bookings in Gauteng is nothing new.
Jacob Mamabolo, Gauteng MEC for public transport and roads infrastructure, admitted in November last year that the system was facing severe challenges.
Mamabolo laid the blame at the feet of corrupt government officials who he said “hijack the system”.
Mamabolo said the government has analysed the data, revealing that there is a problem with how officials were managing and handling the allocation of slots.
He said many slots were allocated to services like new driver’s licence applications, but not to drivers’ licence renewals.
To address the challenges, Mamabolo issued a directive to increase the allocation of driving licence renewal slots.
They also commissioned an investigation into potential corruption in the allocation of slots.
Mamabolo added that they were looking at increasing the number of driving licence testing centres to make more slots available to motorists.
While these interventions opened up more slots for licence renewals, it came at the expense of new applications for driver’s licences.
Another problem is continued inefficiencies and glitches in Gauteng’s new online driver licence booking system.
So severe are these problems that the National Driving School Association has staged protests at various licensing centres throughout Gauteng in March.
National Driving School Association spokesperson Abel Mositsa said there were no issues with the previous system, but now they are being requested by staff to only book on Tuesdays.
He said the system is very slow, and there is a significant backlog of licence renewals and applications to be processed.