READING the numerous letters complaining about the chaos in the driver’s licence renewals section of the traffic department followed up by as many comments from municipal spokesmen stating the prime cause is workload and understaffing, I have sincere sympathy for our new metro police chief Pinkie Mathabathe.
I hear the traffic offices were again closed on Friday. No wonder there is quite a workload!
Is there amid this chaos a real opportunity to not only provide Mr and Mrs Public with more acceptable service, but also create jobs for the young people desperately seeking work?
Reviewing the present situation, I am wondering whether the time is right for history to repeat itself once again and hopefully resolve the problems associated with driver licence renewals.
Some years ago, the roadworthy section was in chaos and ratepayers were compelled to take days off work to get into the queue in the hope of obtaining that roadworthy certificate.
Certain entrepreneurs saw not only an opportunity to provide better service but also to increase their income by applying to become registered as “roadworthy centres”.
We all know that many became immediate and ongoing successes.This resulted in a loss of income to the municipality, but happier motorists.
A few years later, again due to the traffic department’s inability to competently process motor vehicle licence renewals, the system was given to the post office, who have provided the ratepayers with the service they should have expected from their own municipal staff, and a further loss of income.
I see amid the chaos, the possibility of a real opportunity to provide “job opportunities” (President Zuma) or “real jobs” (Helen Zille) for some of the recent graduates and matriculants who are seeking careers.
They should form a company and with available professional guidance apply to the Department of Transport for permission to establish a driver’s licence renewal station in the metro.
Recent graduates and matriculants are generally competent in computer technology and it should be a relatively simple task to master the fully computerised licensing system. In fact, with modern connectivity systems, offices could be set up in different areas of the metro providing a much more convenient customer service.
No more special trips to Uitenhage, Humansdorp, Port Alfred and other towns to get the service you should expect from your own metro officials.
The only downside would be a further loss of revenue to the traffic department.This brings forth another exciting opportunity, but this time for metro police chief Pinkie Mathabathe.
The police chief would now be able to concentrate her energy on visible policing and general traffic control without having the extra burden of administration unrelated to her role as police chief.
Many of the existing staff could be redeployed as “old-fashioned” traffic officers with shiny boots, a big silver star and a motorcycle.
The reduced number of administrative staff would now be able to concentrate on the outstanding fines, and reverse the negative cash flow.
Maybe with enthusiastic traffic cops on the beat again, her department will gain control of both the taxis and the breakdown trucks that also appear in regular press articles and letters.
Such actions will replace the reduced income and we all agree more visible policing will certainly improve overall road safety in our city.
This should be the main priority of any traffic and metro police force.
Ken Munrom Sunridge Park