The moratorium on learner’s and drivers’ licence testing in Gauteng was lifted last week, but the public have since encountered difficulties contacting call centres to book tests. Why has this problem occurred and will it continue?
The moratorium on learner’s and drivers’ licence testing in Gauteng was lifted last week, but the public have since encountered difficulties contacting call centres to book tests. Why has this problem occurred and will it continue? CARtoday.com investigates.
Gauteng’s MEC for transport, Khabisi Mosunkuthu placed a moratorium on bookings for learner’s and driver’s licences in the province in November last year, saying that the department wanted to cut the backlog (of licences to be issued) and stamp out fraud.
The moratorium was lifted last week, but bookings could no longer be made at testing stations. In the case of driver’s licence testing, members of the public were instructed to a phone a number, present their identification and learner licence numbers and book time and venue for their tests. Each caller is subsequently given a reference number while a confirmation of the booking is sent to testing centres.
“I have tried to phone the 016 933 0758 number (to book a test) for more than a week now and I’ve been unable to get through,” a member of the public told CARtoday.com on Tuesday. “It’s been impossible to do the K53 test for several months and it has caused many people a huge inconvenience”.
A spokesman for one of Gauteng’s major driving instruction schools offered an explanation for the problem: “The number is supposed to serve the public in the greater part of the province – including the Sasolburg, Vanderbijlpark, Vereeniging areas”.
Eno Mhlongo, president of the SA Institute for Driving Instructors, said on Tuesday "the idea of a call centre was wonderful and innovative, but they did not get the logistics right”.
But a department of transport spokesman, Sizwe Matshikiza, said the difficulties at call centres were “just teething problems. Since January 5 we placed 4 000 people through the call centres. I reject claims that the system was inadequately planned”.
He added that people were able to get bookings within a week and the maximum waiting period was a month. “The call centres were a temporary measure and a centralised booking centre will be in operation by the end of the month,” Matshikiza said.
The driving school spokesman confirmed that some of the institution’s students had successfully booked a driving test in the past week and added: “If the centralised booking centre is active by the beginning of February it would be a month earlier than was first expected”.
Original article from Car