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By Lunga Simelane

Journalist


Experts commend Gauteng’s learner’s licence project, but ‘there is a corruption issue’

There are suggestions for incorporating a learner's licence into the life orientation curriculum in Grade 10.


Aiming to empower youth and promote responsible driving, the Gauteng provincial government, in partnership with company Diageo South Africa, wants to provide disadvantaged young people access to free learner driving licences. Under the theme, Wrong Side of the Road, the campaign intends to assist youth with fees for securing learner’s licences. To be considered, participants need to be between the ages of 17-34 years and should reside in townships, informal settlements and hostels in Gauteng. ALSO READ: Traffic department staffers arrested for alleged driver’s licence fraud A learner’s licence costs R108 for the written test and R60-R72 for the license…

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Aiming to empower youth and promote responsible driving, the Gauteng provincial government, in partnership with company Diageo South Africa, wants to provide disadvantaged young people access to free learner driving licences.

Under the theme, Wrong Side of the Road, the campaign intends to assist youth with fees for securing learner’s licences. To be considered, participants need to be between the ages of 17-34 years and should reside in townships, informal settlements and hostels in Gauteng.

ALSO READ: Traffic department staffers arrested for alleged driver’s licence fraud

A learner’s licence costs R108 for the written test and R60-R72 for the license itself. Diageo SA has joined forces with the Office of the Premier of Gauteng, the department of roads and transport and the department of economic development on the initiative.

While the target for the project is to assist 40 000 young people, more than 130 000 responses were received after the announcement of the project in August.

Learner’s licence project ‘a dual-purpose’ endeavour

Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi said empowering Gauteng’s youth with free learner’s licences was a dual-purpose endeavour as it was the first phase towards obtaining a driving licence, which then enhanced employability.

ALSO READ: Ekurhuleni traffic department introduces new learners’ license system

“Additionally, this initiative actively promotes responsible driving during the learning stage, hopefully improving road safety, particularly against drinking and driving,” Lesufi said.

As recent figures from Statistics SA indicated, the youth unemployment rate remained alarmingly high at 46.5% in the first quarter of 2023, Optimi Workplace marketing manager and education expert Phemelo Segoe said there was an essential need to feature such initiatives in state schools’ curriculums to improve the lives of young people in the country.

Segoe said having a driver’s licence was a minimal requirement for many jobs, and would create avenues for alternative work.

“If somebody has a licence, they can start looking at becoming a driver for companies like Uber and even freelance employment.

“Maybe somebody wants to set up their own business, and can use their skill in driving,” she said.

ALSO READ: Ekurhuleni traffic department introduces new learners’ license system

“This can be a stepping stone for many young people.”

Segoe said it was important to note that an issue being overlooked was that private schools were doing this, but not state schools.

“So how do you bridge the gap? You start with making basic skills available to pupils in public schools. This is something our government can do,” she said.

“Incorporating it into the greater curriculum is the only way we’re going to make sure it gets done. This should be part of the life orientation (LO) curriculum in Grade 10, because that’s the minimum age to get a learner’s licence. So, at 16, you can get a learner’s licence and making it part of the curriculum makes LO relevant to giving young people skills they will need after school.”

Segoe added that young people obtaining licences “legally” in school could aid in curbing the corruption around the acquisition of driving licences.

ALSO READ: How to dodge licensing scams in Tshwane… or anywhere

“We do have an issue of bribery and the biggest concern for me is that the majority of people daily do not know what they going to eat at the end of the week. So how do you expect somebody to be able to even put together two cents to figure out how they will get around the system.”

“People should not have to even consider paying a bribe to get something they need for their livelihood. So it could mitigate corruption.

“Making it part of the curriculum has to be done and there is no fee. It cuts off the head of the snake.”

‘Corruption issue’

Chief economist at Efficient Group Dawie Roodt said it was a very interesting project but “there was a corruption issue”.

“Will people actually go through the tests? And will there be bribing?” he asked. “But it’s a good idea and it can be a boost to the economy because more people will have driving licences.”

Roodt added the only issue was whether government had the capability to pull it off.

– lungas@citizen.co.za

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