I live in Cape Town, so I can’t speak for other cities but my recent endeavours to change ownership of a car made me realise that this City does not give a damn about helping its citizens execute what should be a simple straightforward matter. I recently sold an old car for cash. Right there, on the pavement outside a dealership I went to. The buyer gave me cash, a copy of his ID and we signed a little document to the effect that he had bought the car.
And that’s where the trouble started. I’ve never before had to change ownership of car with the City Council. So I start at the logical place - I do an internet search. To see what I’ll need, how to do it, what it costs etc. Na, nothing, niks. The closest I came was the City Council website that informed me that the Milnerton vehicle registration office is in Milnerton and that they close at 4.30 in the afternoon. Not even a phone number. I found the number elsewhere and tried to phone. Nobody answers.
So, off I go. On a trip straight back to the 70’s. Those offices are disgusting and nothing has changed (I don’t think) since 1967. Broken furniture. Grimy carpets. Long queues. The child in front of me picks his nose and wipes it on his mother’s pants. I wait.I play peek-a-boo with the nose picker. I eventually get the forms. I fill them in but I have to borrow a pen from somebody because although there are little pen holders a la 1970’s banking halls, there are no pens. I rejoin the queue. But wait! They don’t take a credit card. Only cash or cheques. I have neither. So, back again I go on another day. Cause they close at 4.30 sharp (very sharp) and I had run out of time.
I went back today and handed over the cash and the forms. But wait! I need a signature from the guy I sold the car to. Or an affidavit from the police. He’s no longer in Cape Town and I don’t have the time to go to the police station. So, I came home, faked the signature and tomorrow I will go back for the 3rd time to hand in the form. I will have to queue again but that should be the last of it. Phew!
So, dear City of Cape Town…. You give us free wi-fi in the Company’s Garden. Tell us we live in a world class city but you are not able or willing to have a website where I can find out that you don’t take credit cards, that I need this and that and the other. Even (allow me to dream a little here) enable us to do this whole process online? Download the necessary forms? You are about 20 years behind the rest of the world. Why must such a simple thing need 3 trips to your disgusting offices? How can you expect your staff to be friendly and efficient if the chairs you give them are 20 years old and they have to scream at customers through thick glass without the help of a microphone?
No, it’s all just political jabba jabba talk. This City does not work for you.
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