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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

‘Less talk, more work’ – Lesufi says free learner’s licence project ‘not a gimmick’

From 1 November, Gauteng will also launch new number plates to eliminate illegal drivers.

Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi says the province’s project for free learner’s licences to disadvantaged youth is not a gimmick.

The province officially launched the project on Thursday, which saw young people between the ages of 17 and 34 write a learner’s licence test at no cost.

ALSO READ: Lesufi responds to ‘grandstanding’ on jobs programme

“The biggest challenge of the era that we find ourselves in, it’s many people doing lots and lots of talking and doing less and less of work. I hate talking and love people who do their work,” said Lesufi, who hoped to finally catch a break after endless messages from young people asking about the project.

Lesufi says project an ‘eye-opener’

“At one point I was scared, every device that I own and people know – email, WhatsApp, SMSes, including where I stay, everyone came with their application requesting that they be part of this programme,” he said.

“This was truly an eye-opener. I didn’t know so many South Africans do not have driver’s licences and I didn’t know so many South Africans are going through difficulties just to access and be enrolled to have a driver’s licence.

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

Although he has been accused of only taking action for public attention, Lesufi said today’s launch proved his detractors wrong.

“Today we are launching the programme as a way to assure those who applied that they did not waste their time. I’m accused of creating gimmicks and today we have proven this was not a gimmick, it was a real investment of the future of our province.”

Crime in Gauteng

Lesufi said the province would use the project to intensify its campaign to teach motorists about safe driving.

“Our province, if you check the number of cars we have and the number of accidents recorded every week, you may assume we are in a war zone. We need to pause and educate our drivers to be responsible. But we must balance it with the economic opportunities we need in our province,” he said.

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

“If our citizens are having a nice time in all the taverns and all areas where there are events, don’t put traffic officers to stop them from enjoying themselves; focus on fighting crime so that they don’t have this fear that traffic cops are against them having fun. We need responsible driving so that those who enjoy drinking must have someone who can drive them when they go back home.

“Every Friday and Saturday evening at our hospitals, the numbers are scary because people consume alcohol and go behind the driver seat and create the problems we have. This programme is saying, let’s change that mentality.”

From 1 November, Gauteng will also launch new number plates to eliminate illegal drivers.

“A motor vehicle is at the centre of every criminal activity in our country – either the car is hijacked, stolen or has a false registration number,” said Lesufi.

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

“If we are committed to fight crime, there is no way we can do it without focusing strictly on the registration regime of motor vehicles in our province. It’s crucial that we overhaul the entire registration regime to ensure it’s tamper-proof and no one can create a similar car like yours, purely because they’ve produced a new wrong number plate that is similar to your car.”

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Drivers Licence Gauteng Panyaza Lesufi