LETTER | Dear Premier Winde: we are signing a licence to death, not just a licence renewal

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Motorists wait in a queue to renew vehicle licences.
Motorists wait in a queue to renew vehicle licences.
ER Lombard
• There is no extension for vehicle or driving licences which expire from 1 January 2021.
• Motorists are urged to stay home, but are slapped with fines and penalties for expired licences. 
• Wheels24 reader Bev Moss-Reilly writes an open letter to Western Cape Premier Alan Winde.

Wheels24 reader Bev Moss-Reilly writes an urgent open letter to the Western Cape Premier Alan Winde about the dire situation of driving licence renewals:

The Minister pleads with us in his public addresses to take heed and avoid going out. He keeps on stressing super spreaders. This is exactly what one is walking into and l believe it can be avoided. The rest of the world does this online, there is no reason why SA can't.

I have tried every available number that is published online for the Transport Ministers office. They either ring or no longer exist. Of course my email was not answered. As a despondent South African, why should l expect anything different... I have tried the DA office number as well, and nobody answers. 

You will see that I have openly copied in the editor of Wheels24, the Minister of Transport, the President, Professor Abdul Karim, and even Raymond Zondo. 

I pray that this will land in the right hands. 

I have a keen interest in medical matters and have a thirst for knowledge. Therefore l have, and am reading widely on the subject of Covid-19. It is all consuming and terrifying. 

I am desperate to get a ruling passed. This will not just protect myself, and my loved ones, but the greater community in general. 

It is just sensible - a whole lot more so than deploying the SANDF to police our beaches. 

I digress, with apologies. My spouse is 65 years old. Her driving licence is up for renewal 6 February 2021. She has been to an ophthalmologist, not an optimistic, but an eye specialist. She has a certificate of proof that she has adequate, well, has perfect eyesight to drive. Renewing her licence is merely routine. A test is not necessary. 

I have written to Wheels24, who has published my letter in this regard a few weeks ago. I was hoping for change but understand that the wheels of any such policy will grind slow! The logistics that would make the most sense, without anyone losing jobs, or a loss of income to the government, would be to offer the public or citizens, a choice. 

I don't believe that I need to sketch the picture of a crammed hall with bodies from all walks of life, not maintaining social distancing, not wearing masks as they should, and better still, many who may be knowingly or unknowingly infected. Imposing the ruling for anyone to be placed in such an environment is akin to a culpable homicide situation.

You will agree, Premier, that this is a haven for the virus to spread and result in just over R100. That is just in a short time period. Yet, this is currently the practice all day, everyday. 

One doesn't need to even be a medical student, let alone an epidemiologist to know that one is signing a licence to a journey of death, not just a renewal. 

Thus l have tried to reach the people in the right places, but with no avail, to plead that the system gets changed. 

If a person has a certificate from an ophthalmologist, is over 50-years-old, has comorbidities, or even if they don't, implement a system whereby this can be done ONLINE. We are functioning in digital times. 

Payment, certification, and forms can be done online. Fingerprints are already archived. 

drivers licence,licence
Motorists queue outside the Randburg Driving Licence Testing Centre.

I do not want my spouse, who is being cautious and responsible in every area of her life, to go and sign her death certificate by walking into such an environment which could be termed a 'hotspot'. What if there is no U-turn?

I do not want my spouse putting her face up against a machine, even if it has been sanitized. This is an air-borne virus. Surfaces, pens, forms, and contact with other people happen. I feel very strongly about this. 

As a responsible citizen, she won't allow her licence to lapse. But, Premier, would it not be safer to drive unlicensed and maybe be fined, than to dice with life and play Russian Roulette?

This should be an option on offer to the public. Do we not have enough evidence to know that walking over a minefield may kill us. 

As my spouse needs to renew her licence prior to 6 February, l would be exceptionally grateful to know that:
1. This matter will be considered as a priority
2. A guarantee will be granted that this will be executed in the foreseeable future, that she can wait until then without any penalty, and as pioneer of the implementation. 

This is logical, sensible, and responsible, and l trust that the rollout will be in the foreseeable future. 

To take it a step further, this would be one way of wisely contributing to the health crisis. It would be some alleviation of the far reaching domino effect. 

It is my plea as an anxious partner that you assist in this process, as the gravity of the consequences are not what l wish to live with. I do not want to be a statistic burying my beloved spouse where this can be avoided.

It is simple and can be executed in various departments where people are required to queue. We are in an unvaccinated society with rates of exponential growth. There is no herd immunity and our socio economic spread is diverse. This Hotspot is a melting pot of such diversity. 

Please implement this step with immediate effect. I trust that as the Premier of our well-run Western Cape, that you will be the instrument to pull the brakes up on this dire situation. Please give us the green light! 

I have had the drive to approach you. I have indicated the full scenario, and illustrated the hazards that are flashing. 

Even if this will take time in the slow lane, l need the assurance that it will be fueled into action. I want to be the change l want to see having a positive effect on my country. 

I hope to hear from you with speed.

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