I interviewed two employee’s of a local driving school in order to get ideas and to see what they thought about the corruption issue and weather they had any possible solutions in mind for our appalling driver’s licensing system. They had a lot to say, especially about the officials, the camera’s and new cars at Rossburgh.
They feel that the only way to combat corruption in the system is to get rid of the current officials and employ new, younger less corrupt officials. The one educator made this comment, “we need to get rid of this bad blood, new people will not be as corrupt as they are and if they try to be they WILL get caught! All these officials have mastered the art of being corrupt.” And I must agree… These officials accept bribes on a daily basis, but when is it that the general public hears about these cases? And if these corrupt officials on the very rare occasion do get caught they usually get off with no charges against their names because the unions to which they belong are so good!
Many people have been up in arms about the camera system at Rossburgh, the educators that I interviewed feel that the camera’s are definitely a step in he right direction. However, they are not as fool proof as the government stressed they would be. My personal experience with camera’s at Rossburgh is verification that the camera’s are definitely not 100%. On the day of my driver’s test (26th October 2006) I was distraught at the fact that I had been failed because the official felt that I rolled when I was parking. After returning to his office I asked to view the surveillance footage of my test because I felt strongly that I hadn’t rolled and because it is my democratic right. The camera’s had skipped parts of my test so obviously they do not ALWAYS work as they are meant to. All that the official and I could see was my car at the beginning of the parking bay and then inside the bay. How I got into it could not be seen. What really infuriated me was the fact that the officer in charge, the official who did my test and two other officials all viewed the footage of my test and could NOT find evidence that I had rolled and I was still failed! They told me that if I felt I needed to be retested I should write a letter of appeal to the commissioner which I did and the case is STILL being reviewed!!!
Another important issue that I discussed with the driver’s educators was that of the new cars. They stressed that people should be able to choose weather they wanted to be tested in their driving school cars or in the state cars. Even though driving schools are meant to equip their students to be able to get into any car and drive this doesn’t take away the fact that learner drivers are very nervous on the day of their test and are extremely afraid of the unknown. Another thing that concerned me was that the new Corolla’s that are being used by the government are not 100% either! One of the educators told me that she drove one of those official test cars and that the hand-break was faulty. When it was up the car still rolled. These Corolla’s are also very expensive cars and it they end up costing the tax payers more money! Why can smaller, cheaper cars not be used?
The other educator stressed the fact that he feels that students need to be allowed to practice parking on the actual testing ground. When students do their test for the first time in an unfamiliar place especially when parking can be so daunting that it can cause them to mess up and fail. Being able to practice at least once on the grounds eliminates this fear. The other educator added that the lines on the testing ground are complex and can be highly confusing. She said that the grounds should be changed to represent more of a real life situation.
An issue that was of great concern to both myself and many other people is the fact that the cost of getting your license is so high! Firstly you have to pay a ridiculous fee of over R100 to merely book your test date and then once you pass (if ever) you have to pay R155 to be issued with your license. What is all this money being used for? Is it for camera’s that don’t actually work? I mean all that you are issued with is a computer print out this can’t cost the department more that R1 and we are made to pay R154 extra! The government should take into account the fact that many people trying to obtain their driver’s licenses do so in the hope that once they do they will find employment. How is an unemployed person meant to afford a figure close to R300? Not to mention the money they’d have to pay driving schools for lessons. It seems as if the government is using peoples unfortunate situations and making more and more money off the disadvantaged. They are taking ludicrous amounts of money from many people who so clearly do not have that money to spend! The fees for both the booking of licenses as well as the issuing of them should be lowered significantly. Unless the public is actually going to be shown exactly what is being done with their hard earned money.
The issue of needing a driver’s license to find work is a vital issue especially in our country (South Africa). For example Bus, Taxi and truck driver’s. These people need to obtain a code 10 license. But even after they get their license they still can’t work. The licensing system complicates matters further by making people apply for a P.R.D.P
(Public Road Drivers Permit). This is an application which can take between three to six months to be processed, It costs applicants a further R300! And what’s even more bazaar is the fact that this permit is only valid for two years. If the government insists that the P.R.D.P system is a must then they should cut the price and extend the time for which it is valid.
It is felt by the educators that I interviewed that the code 10 test is too easy. Only one parking is done. This ally docking from the right. Truck, Bus, and Taxi driver’s should DEFINITELY know how to parallel park and do a three point turn. I think these driver’s need to know how to park PROPERLY more than any other road users because their vehicles are so big. And it is so apparent that these driver’s need to be taught how to park! Take a look a the way taxi’s park in town (Durban) for example… The test should be altered as soon as possible as the way these vehicles are being parked at the moment endangers other road users as well as the people who use buses and taxi’s as a mode of transports lives.
Overall I think that if our government really took the time to review our licensing system they would find many faults and would be able to sort them out. Our countries roads are fairly good and the licensing system has the potential to be more effective than it currently is. If the government focused on weeding out the criminals (corrupt officials) that in itself would do so much to make the situation better. The long queues at the licensing offices are enough to make people not want to go in and renew their licenses. If the system was more organised all these queues would be eliminated. Something that has never been tried by the licensing department is electronic bookings. It would be so much easier for the public to book their licenses online.
The sad reality of the matter is that so many of us can sit down and think about ideas and solutions to the departments problems but the people who are really meant to be easing the situation are doing nothing and will not even give our ideas a second thought.