LETTER | I'm a pensioner, I felt such a fool - the licence system is a terrible situation

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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
  • South African motorists continue to battle to book online licence appointments.
  • Motorists over 60 years do not need online appointments on Wednesdays, yet they are still turned away.
  • Wheels24 reader Mrs Simpson shares her experience.
  • For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za

Every day my heart breaks just a little bit more because South African motorists want to be law-abiding citizens and have their valid licences when driving on the roads, yet they are being prohibited from doing so. I implore our readers to continue to write in to us about your struggles with the eNatis online system, and I will continue to let your voices be heard. 

Perhaps, just perhaps, if we continue to make a noise, someone will listen and fix the dire state that is the online booking system.

Earlier in September, I wrote about motorists who are at the age of 60 years or older, do not need to make any online booking appointment, and are allowed to do walk-in appointments only on Wednesdays. At the time I thought this was such a commendable thing from the RTMC. That despite the troubles with the system, they were making an exception for elderly citizens.

But then I get a letter like this, from Wheels24 reader, Mrs T Simpson, and it infuriates me to no end. We're still in the midst of a pandemic, and in a bid to help those who are more at risk, and suffer from comorbidities, are still being turned away after being exposed to possible risk of infections in long queues, all for nothing. 

Mrs Simpson writes:

I am a pensioner.

On Wednesday (4 November) I went to the Randburg Licensing Department to renew my driver's license.

I was there at 9:30am. There was quite a queue.

Some of the people waiting had got there from 5:30am but the doors were closed on them at 7:30am. They were waiting in the hopes that the persons already inside would be processed more quickly than expected and they would be let in.

I felt such a fool!

Now I am worried about having to get up at say 4:00am to get there early enough to be attended to. I have to drive through a dangerous area, and I am afraid to be out alone so early.

Two friends of mine, also pensioners, paid some company R1600 each to book for them and take them to the appointment. The one had to go to Benoni, far away. She said what she got was a lift and a chair, but at least she could hand in her application! I believe she has to go back to collect it when it’s ready.

This is a terrible, terrible situation.

We really do want to have up-to-date drivers' licences and to pay for them.

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