LETTER | It's not all doom and gloom at driving licence testing centres

Motorists queuing to renew vehicle licences in Stellenbosch.
Motorists queuing to renew vehicle licences in Stellenbosch.
JP Plater

• Wheels24 readers share some good news in their licence renewal experiences.
• Several licencing centres are proving to offer swift and efficient services.
• These centres are helpful, and follow strict Covid-19 protocols.
• For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24.

Earlier this week we shared some views from frustrated motorists who have been battling to renew their vehicle and driving licence centres, while others have been unable to log any online appointments on the Natis system.

Despite all the negativity and complaints about licence renewal battles, a couple good news stories have pipped through about centres where they were helped quickly, and efficiently. Some senior motorists were even bumped to the front of the queue.

It warms my heart and definitely gives some hope that there are people at driving licence centres who care, and it surely shows in their services.

I've also heard only good things about Parow, Goodwood, and Strand licencing and vehicle renewal centres in the Western Cape.

If you have a good news story to share about licence renewals, please emails us here, we'd love to publish your letter. Or, use the comments section below.

Wheels24 reader Smiley commented: I must also mention Durbanville traffic department for being on the ball as I am a senior citizen; I was moved to the front of the row and within 15 minutes I had my car licence in my hand. 

RobRuss writes: "My wife and I arrived at the Milnerton licencing department at 15:10 on Friday afternoon 8 January to renew her car licence. I waited in the car reading. Some 15 minutes later she arrived back at the car... fearing the worst that she had given up on the challenge, she simply waved her new disk at me. Efficient service does happen in well run offices... well done Milnerton.

But probably my favourite story is that of Wheels24 reader Keith Moir who wrote in and shared his experiences and frustrations about renewing his driving licence. Moir wrote: "I am a pensioner who has struggled for a year to get a licence renewed because the "system" cannot read my fingerprints. I know of people who have waited three years for the same reason!

A few weeks later, Mr Moir corresponded with me again, this time with some good news: "I ordered my replacement licence in Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, and there now seems a glimmer of hope that the process of getting the licence - without fingerprints" is actually happening!

There was a new lady appointed at the licencing office who telephoned me four times in the space of two days to inform me what was happening, and that the license application has been processed - what a difference! It is just amazing what one person, who has the desire to provide customer service, can do.

"Hooray for Mrs Vee (as she calls herself) in the Port Alfred Licencing Office, what a breath of fresh air!"

But it's this letter, from Wheels24 Desire Nel that brings a bigger glimmer of hope.

Nel writes: "We always only get to read the bad - I do feel we should also give credit where it is due for the good, and be able to read about the good! 

"After reading so many articles of horror stories, long queues, rude staff, no adherence to Covid protocols, waiting for hours, the e-Natis system not working, I was really dreading having to book an appointment to have my husband's driver's licence card renewed. 

"I went onto the e-Natis system and it worked effortlessly with no issues; it is really easy to use. We selected Boksburg DLTC as it had the earliest appointment while my husband was still on leave, Friday 8 January at 08:20. It tells you exactly what you require on the day, it even allows you to download the forms so you can complete them before going, and it advises you to be there an hour before your appointment. 

"Friday the 8th arrived - we leave home, the GPS let's us know that they could still be closed by the time we arrive and we already think, here we go, get there they will still be closed as they probably only at 08:00, so why say be there an hour before, but we push on. 

"We arrive at Boksburg DLTC at 07:25 to actually see so many other people and cars already, and to our surprise they are open and assisting patrons! Wow! We mask up and off we walk. Get to the door, the gentleman advises us that due to Covid protocols only the person with the appointment is allowed in the queue and in the building, so I leave my husband in line and I am dreading sitting in the car the entire day.  

"Everything was organised, lines were sorted for collections, new driver's tests and renewals, they also adhered to all the Covid protocols with sanitizing, social distancing etc.  

"Bare in mind my husband's appointment was for 8:20am, at 8:30 he knocked on the car window, almost giving me a heart attack! I asked him what was wrong? Nothing he responded, he is done!" What?! Yes - all done, eye test, finger prints, payment - AND not cash only like most other DLTC's (yes we even stopped to draw money as we know this is an issue at most DLTC's) he paid by card! 

"He said the staff were so efficient, helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly! 

Natis card licence status
Natis card licence status

"And again, the eNatis system is not failing - I logged in this morning to see the status of his card, it has been posted to the DLTC, so very soon we would be able to collect it, not even two weeks later! 

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