Driving with J9 | Pensioners being treated like rubbish at driving licence centres - reader

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Motorists queue outside a Licensing and Testing Department.
Motorists queue outside a Licensing and Testing Department.
Photo by Luba Lesolle/Gallo Images

  • The online licence system continues to cause havoc for motorists.
  • Thousands of motorists battle to find any available slots online.
  • Senior motorists are not being assisted with walk-ins on Wednesdays as the RTMC has previously advised.
  • For more motoring stories, go to

What will it take for the RTMC and government to hear the pleas of thousands of motorists who are battling to book online licence appointments?

Day in and day out, motorists write into me, begging for help. These are people who are desperate to be law-abiding citizens and be on the roads legally, without the fear of being fined for having an invalid licence.

We're also still amid a global pandemic. Despite many South Africans making as if the coronavirus has disappeared into thin air, senior citizens are most at risk. Yet, there no seems to be no provision being made for them at licence centres.

Several weeks ago, I shared information from the RTMC that motorists who are at the age of 60-years or older, need not battle with the eNatis system, and are allowed to 'walk-ins' at driver licence testing centres to renew their driver licences. This is not happening. More and more senior citizens are writing in and sharing their stories of distress.

Here I am, trying to help, spreading the message that our parents and grandparents need not struggle with a failing system, and yet they are still turned away and made to stand in queues for hours, without being assisted.

What I will advise those who still need to stand in long queues at driving licence testing centres, take along a fold-up or camping chair, an umbrella or sunhat, some frozen bottles of water, and perhaps some snacks since most people stand in queues for such a long time. It won't get your licence renewed any faster, but at least make it comfortable for yourself in the process.

How long will this go on? How long until someone speaks up and fixes this mess? We will continue to publish your letters until someone can figure out how to fix the system that is eNatis.

A driver's licence. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
A driver's licence.

Wheels24 reader Chris van den Heever wrote into us this week, and it's so disheartening that I can't share any helpful information to him and so many others. His letter speaks for thousands of South Africans, who are being turned away after standing in endless queues all in vain.

Van den Heever writes:

After I saw on Wheels24, that on Wednesday's pensioners (over 60 years) can go to the license offices to be assisted with their licence renewals, I showed my elderly parents the article. 

Because they are 81 and 84 years respectively, and they were struggling to get an online appointment for my mom (81), they decided to go to Akasia licence department the following Wednesday to renew her licence.

They got there around 08:00 on a Wednesday morning and spoke to the licence department officials, but they were told that they must fall into the general queue of some 50 to 60-odd people. After five excruciating hours in the line, they again asked one of the personnel about the arrangement for people over 60, and they were told to come back the next Wednesday then they would be helped.

The next Wednesday it was exactly the same story. They were told to again stand in the general line of some 55 people. They stood in line from 08:00 and were only helped at around 14h45.

It is disgusting that they don't follow the standard rules and procedures set out by the department to give people over 60 preferences on Wednesdays, or at least assist the elderly people first. 

My dad cannot even walk properly and is using a crutch to assist him. He and my mom struggled for two weeks to recover from the 12 hours that they had to spend in the line at the Akasia licence office over two respective Wednesdays.

This is such a traumatic experience for them that we had to put them on medication and painkillers for more than two weeks!

It is appalling and a disgrace, and the treatment from officials borders close on abuse to how elderly people are being treated at these offices.

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Wheels24 editor Janine Van der Post

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Janine Van der Post is the editor at Wheels24. If you have any queries, or want to share your story, email her here.

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