Our continuous efforts to get the Road Traffic Management Corporation, ultimately responsible for to Drivers Licence Centres, to address broken machines at the Traffic and Licensing Centres resulting in long queues, presented us with an unintended consequence.
When we converted from the outdated Live Capturing Units that reached its shelf life and caused numerous problems, we became the first Metropolitan Municipality to be upgraded to the new Live Enrolment machines.
When the other Metropolitan Municipalities also underwent the same conversation, more machines were added to the network making the system much slower. While a normal transaction would initially take five minutes, it can now take up to twenty minutes to register. I cannot express how sorry I am for members of the public who must wait in long queues before they can be helped. We were informed by the Department of Transport that network problems persist between Korsten and the national office in Pretoria. We negotiated with the national department once again, we engaged with Telkom as the network provider and our IT department to find a faster network connection to address the tardiness of the current system. This would ensure that the system is faster which will enable us to assist more clients.
The Uitenhage Traffic and Drivers License Centre was off for two days and it required the RTMC to send an IT technician from Pretoria to do repairs but the system remains slow. We will not sit back and leave it as is. We will continuously engage with the national department and investigate ways to improve the network speed.
The LEU machines are the new technology and we have to use it, but it is frustratingly slow. I received numerous letters from the public and saw a number of Letters to the Editor in local newspapers. We are therefore fully aware of the problem and I spoke with the Executive Director of Safety and Security and the Director of Traffic and Licensing regarding solutions.
We are looking at establishing a B-class Traffic and Licensing Centre at the Motherwell Thusong Centre, which will provide all the services except for processing motorcycle licences. As soon as the Motherwell Thusong Centre is accredited by the national Department of Transport residents will be able to get services closer to them and mitigate the demand at the centres in Uitenhage and Korsten.
The Department already visited the Motherwell Thusong Centre three times and advised our officials as to what must be done to become compliant.
The Director of Traffic and Licensing, Mr Warren Prins, in collaboration with the Executive Director of Safety and Security, Advocate Keith Meyer, are looking at two additional points where only the renewal of Drivers Licenses will be done. This would mean that we will have a Traffic and Licensing Centre in Korsten, another in Uitenhage and one in Motherwell by May this year and the two additional points for the renewals that will come online towards the end of the year.
No other transactions except the renewal of existing drivers licenses will be done at those two points, which means residents will be able to walk up to a Live Enrolment Unit and update their licenses.
We are also investigating the possible implementation of an online booking system which is currently used by other Metropolitan Municipalities with great success. This will enable members of the public to make a booking as at any other professional business. This will eliminate situations where more people than the centre can accommodate or service pitch up at the Traffic and Drivers Licensing Centres. Nobody else besides those who have booked will then be assisted.
We are aware that during school holidays and when people are on leave we experience a peak in the number of clients we need to service and it did not help that the system was off for almost three days recently.
We have already trained six officials and will train an additional six staff members to cater for the opening of the facility at the Motherwell Thusong Centre. Eight LEU machines will be installed in Motherwell and we have applied for an additional machine in Uitenhage and another for Port Elizabeth.
I once again would like to reiterate that I empathise with the frustration of the public and we are trying our best to address their concerns, but the situation is beyond our control.
I hope you understand.
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