TRAFFIC departments in Nelson Mandela Bay have been operating in chaotic circumstances for some time and are slowly getting worse.
The PE Express has received a number of complaints about poor service at the various traffic departments in the metro.
Two of the main issues at the moment are the fact that the Uitenhage Traffic Department cannot currently issue professional driving permits (PDPs) due to a broken machine, and the extremely long queues for eye tests at the Korsten Traffic Department.
The latter has been a problem for a very long time.
However, last year the municipality added four additional eye-testing devices to the only one that was working in an effort to ease the waiting period in the queues.
This means that the Korsten Traffic Department has a total of five eye-testing machines, however, customers claim that there are only two manned stations for eye tests. Recently, the line ran all the way into the parking lot.
A customer, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) has been promising a solution to the problems for months, but things only seem to be getting worse.”
Municipal spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki said that this is a nationwide problem of the national Department of Transport, which is currently experiencing a challenge with a shortage of equipment.
“The NMBM performs the function and provides traffic department services on behalf of the national department,” Mniki said.
“There are currently no spares available for the equipment and there is currently a national tender out for the new equipment to replace the faulty equipment.
“This will greatly alleviate the challenges being experienced.
“The municipality is also in constant communication with the national Department of Transport in an effort to prioritise our challenges.
“The problems being experienced will be resolved once the tender has been awarded and new equipment issued.”
Proof of address
Another issue, which is not caused by faulty or broken equipment, is the debate about the type of proof of address that is accepted by traffic departments in the Nelson Mandela Bay for driver and vehicle licence applications. A resident living in an informal settlement complained that the traffic department refused a letter from the ward councillor confirming their residential and postal address and stated that they only accept utility accounts as proof of address.
In terms of amendments to the National Road Traffic Regulations of 2000, which were promulgated on October 31, 2014, only utility accounts will be accepted as verification of applicants’ postal and residential addresses.
According to the Department of Transport, should the applicant not be the person in whose name the utility account is issued, the person in whose name the utility account has been issued must make an affidavit or affirmation declaring that the applicant resides at the address.
Applicants who reside at an informal settlement must submit a letter with an official date stamp from the ward councillor or local tribal authority confirming the postal and residential address of the applicant.
Other grievances include staff allegedly abandoning people waiting to be helped to attend meetings, slow and inefficient service, and the poor attitudes of the staff and phones that continuously go unanswered.
“Plans are underway to open the Motherwell Traffic Testing Centre officially to serve the Motherwell community and surrounding areas. This step will greatly alleviate the pressure from the other two centres in the metro. It is envisaged that the building will be officially handed over to Safety and Security before the end of September this year,” Mniki said.
“The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality would like to appeal to residents kindly to be patient during this process and understand that the safety and security directorate of the municipality, under the leadership of councillor John Best, is doing its best to have both the Korsten and Uitenhage Traffic Departments fully functional and operational in order to meet the needs of the metro.”