LISTEN: Benoni Licensing Department issues explained

People are turned away for safety reasons.

Frustration, long queues and longer waiting periods are among the words used by several Facebook users to describe the atmosphere and service at the Benoni Licensing Department, Benoni City Times reports.

READ MORE: Kempton Park licensing centre closed for system upgrades

In a Facebook post on January 11, the City Times asked community members for their thoughts regarding the department. We received 27 responses, including the following:

• Justine Dwinger: Spent just about the whole day there trying to renew my driver’s. I spent most of the time waiting for the eye test, and when it came to my turn to do the eye test, it was nearly home time so they were rushing and became rude and unhelpful.

• Roxanne van Breda Reynders: Spent two days there (from morning until closing) to get my car licence and to have another removed from my name. The best of all is that the cashier gave me short change and then argued about it when I told her it was wrong. It took me another half an hour to get the correct change.

• Liane van Harn: After three attempts and being chased away saying they cut the queue off, I won’t return.

• Vicki Oelofse: Five-and-a-half hour wait just to renew your licence. The holdup is purely the eye test. Ridiculous!

“In August 2017 the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport (GDRT) migrated from live capturing units (LCU) to live enrollment units (LEU),” said Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality spokesperson Themba Gadebe.

The reason for the change was the LCU machine infrastructure was ageing and could not be maintained.

Ekurhuleni licensing centres were among those that received the new machines in the province.
The machines were meant to be efficient and effective in reducing turnaround times.

“However, due to some technical glitches, this couldn’t yield the desired outcome,” Gadebe said.

“Centres started to experience delays between the time it takes for one applicant to conclude the eye testing procedure up to the payment point, thus resulting in prolonged waiting times.”

However, Gadebe said the new machines had reduced the waiting time for licence card manufacturing and collection, to a minimum of one to two weeks, “thus minimising all the problems we experienced when ordering and producing the driver’s card”.

Gadebe said the GRDT is aware of the ongoing problems and will introduce a newer version of the machines in order to resolve the issue.

“It is also important to note that, since the City of Ekurhuleni runs the licensing services on behalf of the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport, the procurement process for the upgrading and maintenance of these machines rests squarely within their [the department’s] ambit.”

Regarding people being turned away, Gadebe said this was for safety reasons.

“Our centre can only cater for a certain number of applicants due to space constraints, and notwithstanding the issue of safety and security, a due diligence exercise is conducted every day to assess the situation,” he said.

“Based on this we decide on the intake for the day from time to time as the day progresses.

“However, those we can’t assist we make arrangements for in this regard.

“We process a minimum of 150 to 320 applicants per day.”

Operating times at the licensing department, according to Gadebe, are:

• 8am until 3pm (Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays).

• 9am until 3pm (Wednesdays).

• 8am until noon (first three Saturdays of the month).

“Our core services at the centre are applications, testing of both learner and driver’s licences, renewal of professional driver’s licences and including the normal driver’s licence,” Gadebe added.

“While we endeavour to find solutions to these problems, the centre is by no means encouraging members of the public not to be served.

“We wish that the public can bear with us in this regard while we are working on long-lasting solutions to our current problem.”

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