Frustration at the Ermelo licensing office

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GK CRONJE

22 September 2020

For now, residents wishing to renew their driver’s licenses need to take a day off work and be sure to be the early bird in line. Residents who have to renew their license discs may stand in line, or use a queuing service such as J&P Queuing Service, which handles renewals of license discs on your behalf, provided you supply the appropriate documentation.

Since the relaxation of the national lockdown, life as we know it is slowly returning to normal. However, since the re-opening of Ermelo’s licensing office, the institution has been inundated with license renewals and learner’s license applications. Reports have been received of residents queuing from 19:00 the previous evening, just to be one of the lucky few being assisted the next morning. According to the information at hand, a mere 50 residents are assisted per day, with COVID-19 regulations being put to blame. Desperate residents sleep in their vehicles at night to secure their spaces, and have even resorted to having a braai to alleviate the tension of standing in line for hours on end. Licensing office staff also allegedly close their booths early (before end of business) and also close their booths whilst on extended lunch and tea breaks. It is also alleged that the staff often never return to their booths, leaving residents in frustration and infuriated. Residents are now left high and dry, with a massive backlog of applications that needs to be processed, which could take weeks, if not months. The limited number of applicants being assisted per day also shows no positive effect, as this does little to reduce the backlog. Due to tighter regulations, residents are also now forced to stand in queue in Ermelo, as Breyten and Hendrina no longer accepts renewals and applications from Ermelo residents, and Morgenzon’s license office is bogged down with system issues and protest action.

Speaking to Mr. Zwane, Msukaligwa Local Municipality’s spokesman, he stated that the municipality is aware of the issue, and is working on implementing a solution. “It is true that the licensing office assists a limited number of residents on a daily basis, due to the current lockdown. However, we are waiting for the new regulation after the President has announced that we are moving to level 1 of the lockdown. Management had also to consider the health and safety of both employees and residents, as the office has to be sanitized from time to time. It is also true that there is a huge backlog, due to ongoing lockdown, hence we are appealing to the community to bear with us in this trying times. It should be noted that learners licenses are only done Mondays, and not on Wednesdays as reported, and that the office have decreased the number applications to avoid further infections of the virus. As part of ameliorating the situation, government has appointed the South African Post Office to rendered services like MVL (motor vehicle licensing) renewal. Ermelo post office is one of the branches that will render such services in not too distance future. This will reduce the number of people visiting the license office by 20%.”

For now, residents wishing to renew their driver’s licenses need to take a day off work and be sure to be the early bird in line. Residents who have to renew their license discs may stand in line, or use a queuing service such as J&P Queuing Service, which handles renewals of license discs on your behalf, provided you supply the appropriate documentation. For more information regarding their services, you may contact Janecka on 073 120 8312, or Pieter on 071 854 7915.Other than that, residents have little choice but to grin and bear the delay in service provision.

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