Three-day protest by driving schools against online booking system to start on Friday
The National Driving School Association of SA is urging the public not to visit traffic department offices for three days starting on Friday, when they will be staging protests to demand the scrapping of the online booking system.
“Since the department of transport is not taking us seriously, we are planning to picket at the [department] and Road Traffic Management Corporation on Friday. On Monday and Tuesday we are closing all the stations. There will be no service for all stations. We are urging the public not to go to any traffic department,” said Abel Mositsa, the association's chairperson.
Some driving school operators staged protests at various driver's licence testing centres (DLTCs) in Gauteng last week. They say the online system has created backlogs, as bookings can be made online only once a week and they are struggling to get slots for their customers.
The association presented a memorandum demanding the scrapping of the booking system to the department on February 15, and says it is awaiting a written response.
“We gave them seven days to respond and they did not respond, so now we want to force the department to respond to us in writing.
“Our members are frustrated and left with no options but to protest to get answers as to why are they taking time to respond to our memo,” Mositsa said.
The RTMC on Tuesday slammed the driving schools' opposition to the booking system.
“While the RTMC recognises their democratic right to protest, we strongly condemn action that disrupts the delivery of much-needed services.
“The RTMC calls for swift action from law enforcement to demonstrate the full might of the law against any individuals who deliberately disrupt service delivery.”
The corporation acknowledged “numerous enquiries from concerned members of the public who are struggling to get slots at DLTCs near them for renewals and bookings”.
It offered the assurance that it “is working tirelessly to stabilise the platform and make sure, in consultation with the province, that all hurdles are cleared to create a seamless booking experience”.
In defence of the booking system, the RTMC said allowing only online access has had a positive impact in the fight against Covid-19, as it minimises crowding at DLTCs, particularly in Gauteng where there is still a high number of cases.
Mositsa said the association was dissatisfied with the RTMC response. “We called them immediately after seeing their notice to tell them that we will not co-operate with that notice until they come to us, until they respond to our demands.”