Blog girl

Monday, November 06, 2006

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.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Licensing officials at Rossburgh
I went to Rossburgh on the 12th of October to interview an official. I was so afraid that no one would want to speak to me once they knew what the topic of my research was. But I must say that I was pleasantly surprised.The official that I interviewed was very nice. She told me about the process of both the learners and drivers tests. She also told me about how many people offer them bribes, she did not however go into detail about weather or not those bribes were ever accepted…I also learnt that they have not completely done away with the cameras and so forth they have just given people the choice between using their driving schools car and the government cars. She told me that in her opinion that particular system was working very well and it reduced a lot of the corruption. I agree and think that the cameras should definitely be used…

Key players within and affected by the licensing system…
It’s no secret how corrupt South Africa’s licensing system is. But the worst part is the fact that it’s not only the licensing officials who are corrupt. Driving school employees are just as corrupt if not more corrupt than the officials. The driving school employees in turn corrupt the learner drivers making the situation even worse! I mean out of 10 driving schools 8 of them will ask you before your drivers test if you want to pay for it… They tell you clearly that you should rather pay to make sure you pass. According to my research it costs R600 to ensure a pass at Rossburgh and R700 at Pinetown. Paying the official just allows you to get away with all the little mistakes for example not looking in you blind spot or not doing your observations and so forth. If you mess up at the actual testing ground on the parking or the hill take off you will just fail and get your money back but all mistakes made on the route will be over looked.One of the things I found out when I went to Rossburgh that really annoyed me was that it is possible to get an earlier booking for your drivers test if you pay a small fee to the official in charge. This is so unfair!!! I know people who had to wait 6 months to do their tests and now I find out that you can just get an early booking if you know the right people.Taxi drivers… So many taxi drivers are hazardous. How on earth can officials give some of them their licenses? Surely you can tell weather or not it’s safe to allow a person to drive. The corrupt officials endanger all road users’ lives on a daily basis.Traffic police also form a huge portion of the problem in the system. They condone so many traffic violations and everyone knows how easy it can be to bribe many of them. This makes people feel that it they commit a traffic offense its okay because they know that there must be at least one corrupt person they can pay to get rid of their fines and so forth.
Will the corruption in the system ever be put to an end?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Corruption in the licensing system!

Group 4

It's no secret that the licensing system in South Africa is highly corrupt! And in Kwa-Zulu Natal the problem seems to be worse than average. There are so many corrupt officials making this problem inescapable. I've done some research on how difficult it is to pass your drivers - on a fair test that is - because I'm doing my drivers test this month and I am stressting out because my drivig instructor says that the place at which I've booked (Rossburgh)is filled with "shady" officials. This sounded so ridiculous to me because how could these people possibly be corrupt with cameras in the cars? Well as you know those cars have been taken away but even when they still had the cameras it was possible to bribe someone to pass you. What they had been doing was, using one car which had a boken camera... This camera did not pick up on many of the errors made as it was not as sensitive as the other cameras. It costs R700 (in addition to the actual fee) to that you pass. This is ridiculous! So many people are being injured and even killed because these officials want to make some extra money on the side. And what's even worse is that these officials are so used to getting paid to pass people that they actually get angry if you don't offer them a bribe and in many cases they fail you just because they're in a bad mood.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"Congress cheers calls for removal of Manto"
Manto Tshabalala-Msimang (South Africa's minister of health) has made ridiculous claims on how to treat HIV/Aids. She has said that eating things like garlic for example will help in combatting this epidemic. Her claims are almost as ridiculous as that of Jacob Zuma's ( Former Deputy President of South Afirca) that showering afrter sexual intercourse prevents the infection oh HIV/Aids. One would think that a person of Manto's kaliber would have more brains than to make such a bazaar claim. She is meant to be leading the people of our country but instead she chooses to feed us utter nonsense! Manto should definitly be removed from her positon if not for the fact that she made such irresponsible statements then for her "stupidity" alone.

"Supporters gather for Zuma hearing"
Why do so many people support former President Jacob Zuma??? Fair enough he has done a lot for our country (South Africa) and brought about change and given many oppurtunities to the previously oppresseed. But the fact still remains that he has been involved in MANY corrupt situations. I find it so difficult to understand why someone would want a person even ACCUSED of being corrupt to run a country and lead our nation. "Innocent until proven guilty" This statement is ridiculous and who actually believes this if someone is accused of something doubt is automatically created. The Jocob Zuma supporters who go as far as to take time off work to show their loyalty to him should really get a clue. They should go to work and earn a living and try to support themselves and their families instead of wasting their time on someone who is so OBVIOUSLY involveed in criminal acts. Jacob Zuma being aquitted would be the biggest mistake ever. It would show the public that crime in our country will be conconed and that crime actually DOES pay.

"Suburban Bliss"
This was a real feel good article. It is about a suburb in Cape Town called Pinelands. This suburb is said have the most racial variety. There are many well known people that have all lived and many who still live in this suburb. The suburb is beautiful, the local high school shows how multi racial the community is. It is so good to know that finally we are progressing toward a real rainbow nation... However is was clear to me when reading this article that this suburbwas most certainly an upper class one. The fact still remains that even after 12 years of democracy some areas are still for whites only...

"Calls to halt nevirapine"
The title of this article suprised me to say the least. Why on earth would the government want to stop something that is decreasing the infant mortality rate in our country?
Basically the article speaks of how Nevirapine is not working because people are not taking it or are not completing their prescriptions. Well if this is the case the government should not just give up on these people. The government needs to invest more time into the women infected with the HIV/Aids virus. If they spent more money and time on these people (who are often left destitute by friends and family) instead of on trivial issues like the coaching of our 2010 soccer team maybe Nevirapine WOULD be working!!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"I was punched, beaten"
This caption caught my attention!!! This article is about the way thousands of shack dwellers were mistreated by Durban police. As I read the article my astonishment grew. The way the police behaved was shocking. They used teargas and other uncalled for methods in order to "control" the shack dwellers. So many of these people were unnecessarily harmed. This articleis just one example of many in which we see how much the SAPS abuse their power. I mean in the article they injured and assulted people who are just trying to live, these shack dwellers are obviously people who are from lower classes of society... Have they not been oppressed enough? Why do the police find it necessary to make there lives even more difficult!?