Licences: four-month wait

2008-01-07 00:00

SCHOOL-LEAVERS and job seekers needing driver’s licences are having to wait for at least four months to get a booking in Pietermaritzburg.

Licence testing centres have been inundated with people seeking tests, largely because of the increasing number of employers who require a valid driver’s licence from prospective employees.

In what appears to be a nationwide problem, applicants are having to wait until April for a booking.

The Mkondeni Testing Centre in Pietermaritzburg was open during the December period in order to break the logjam.

Officers at the centre said 300 bookings were taken for licence tests in a single day in December.

Ten years ago, each examiner conducted about five tests a day: now they handle 10 a day each.

The Mkondeni Testing Centre conducts almost 1 600 tests a month.

One way to eliminate the long delay is by booking a test at another centre, either in KZN or in another province.

A Traffic Department source at Mkondeni said people often go to other centres, such as Greytown, Richmond, Ixopo, Camperdown, Table Mountain, Bulwer and Underberg, to book tests

However, bookings can only be made in person and other centres are said to not be easily accessible for most people.

Many people from KZN also go to the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga to do their tests.

Aside from the long wait for a test, the testing ground is too small to accommodate almost 10 tests being carried out simultaneously.

The Mkondeni source said plans to expand the premises are in the pipeline.

Another officer at the centre told The Witness that it is now much easier to obtain a licence than it was 10 years ago. “The system is now more user-friendly,” he said.

A computerised audio system allows the testing centre to monitor the tester while he is out with an applicant, which prevents attempts to bribe examiners.

Efforts are being made to decrease the number of licence bookings being processed from now until April, said traffic officers at the centre.

nerissag@witness.co.za

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