A summit meeting for driving schools was held at the CSIR on 22nd March 2013.
The Ex-Honourable Minister of Transport, Ben Martins, did not attend despite road fatalies of 1475 people in one month in South Africa over Christmas 2012.
The National Driving School Forum was introduced to the audience. NDSF
Four plenary sessions were held, namely:
Proposed Regulation of the Driving School Industry (Government Gazettes Volume 564 Pretoria 8 June 2012 No. 35413, and Volume 565 Pretoria, 18 July 2012 No. 35528 refer) – speaker John Motsatsing NDoT K53
The new K53 manuals – (still to be finalized. No link available at this stage.)
The computerised learners licence tests. (Too large for uploading)
Training for driving instructors. Speaker Paulus Plaatjies RTMC. Qualification presentation
Follow-up matters have been of concern to the members of the National Driving School Forum. We have submitted requests to review the database of 1500 questions for the computerised learners licence tests in Gauteng, but have not received any reply. There is a very high failure rate (8 pass on average out of a class of 25 according to the Manager of a DLTC (Drivers Licence Testing Centre) in Gauteng.
See the relevant documents here:
We have submitted the following letter to the National Department of Transport on Monday 23rd April 2013, but have not yet received a reply. There matters still require urgent attention.
Monday 23rd April 2013
Mr John Motsatsing
Meeting held between NDoT, RTMC and NDSF at RTMC today from 10:00 to 16:30
On behalf of the National Driving School Forum I write to make several important, even urgent requests for assistance and support in regard to the following matters:
Computerised Learner’s Licence Tests:
- Our members report that large numbers of people are failing the computerised learners licence tests.
- The NDSF ask permission to review the full complement of the 1500 or more questions database.
- Our desire is to meet as the committee, together with DoT and RTMC, and to screen the entire list of questions up, one by one and decide together if each question is actually relevant and fair.
- Also, we need to ensure that people who are not English speaking will be able to understand the questions, and to answer fairly.
- We propose that if a specific question is not relevant, as agreed by the Forum, we ask that it be removed.
- We are willing to offer a selection of at least 200 alternative questions which can be used as alternative questions.
- It is a grave concern that many very competent drivers are not able to pass the learners licence test in the normal way due to either learning disabilities, or illiteracy.
- It is very clear to all of us in the driving school industry that this category of applicants has been almost totally overlooked and neglected when it comes to being given the opportunity to be tested orally.
- Many, if not most, DLTC’s do not offer oral tests, even in major cities.
- The procedure to apply for an oral test is difficult to comply with, requiring proof of their learning problems by medical personnel and school headmasters. In some cases the schools no longer exist, making this impossible.
- Oral tests are conducted very irregularly, leading to very long delays in the booking system which is already completely hopelessly inadequate for the population.
- In view of this major problem, we request the opportunity to sit around the table in this forum to try to propose more workable solutions to this problem to empower the people, who can, in many cases, supply the extreme shortage of truck drivers in the country very competently, even as second drivers.
- We propose that these proposals be implemented as soon as possible to avoid people being forced to drive illegally in order to earn a living.
It has become clear from Technical committee meetings, and the Summit meeting, that there is a strong move by the Government towards advocating the use of simulators for training learner drivers. This matter was actually on the agenda at the Summit, but due to time constraints, was not dealt with. Members feel threatened by this move for the following reasons:
- The Forum feels that the authorities have completely overlooked the driving school industry stakeholders when taking decisions with respect to this matter.
- We wish to indicate our disappointment of this omission, and feel this needs to be rectified.
- The NDSF would like to ask for more details as to how the NDoT views the role of simulators for training drivers, who they believe will pay for them; supply them, and just how useful are they perceived to be for South African learner drivers.
- How practical and attainable will they be, since they are extremely costly items, which most driving schools cannot hope to afford?
- Most models come from other countries. We know of one South African endeavour to suit the product to local drivers. Is this one company the only one to have the monopoly, and is that acceptable?
The New K53 Manuals:
- It is apparent that various people in the Government and those who sit on the Technical Committee have proceeded to revise the K53 manuals without even considering the input of the driving school industry.
- This is inexplicable. We are all working day after day, training new drivers on every module of the K53 standard, and are capable of quoting it off by heart, in many instances.
- We know what works and what is not working.
- For example, the modules which require us to “obtain clutch control” and then to carry out a full 5-point “observe” clearly demonstrate a complete misunderstanding of the mechanics of the clutch. The clutch and pressure plate spin against each other for extended periods as new drivers struggle to achieve clutch control without stalling.
- A clutch replacement is one of the most expensive repairs a driving school must cover, yet, due to this ridiculous system, we must either alter it subtly to avoid a loss of marks, or face endless clutch replacements. One member actually budgets for a new clutch every 20 000 km!
- Given the opportunity to carefully go through the K53 manuals together with NDoT and RTMC, we can very quickly identify various shortcomings, and make acceptable recommendations.
- We ask for that opportunity.
Presentation of the first draft legislation to regulate the Driving School Industry to Parliament:
- As the NDSF, we respectfully request confirmation of the fact that the proposed legislation has been accepted for submission before Parliament.
- We understand that a number is allocated for the turn to be heard. We would appreciate being advised if that number has already been allocated, because there are many issues we wish to clarify before that submission, rather than later.
- This is a matter of direct interest to all our members.
- We requested the opportunity to review the revised document before it went before Parliament, and were promised by yourself that we could see it. However, we did not receive it from you.
- Without any desire to delay the regulation of our industry we would like time to discuss it with NDoT and RTMC.
The Minister of Transport:
The apparent lack of interest by the Honourable Minister of Transport, Mr Ben Martins, in the historic first Summit meeting for the Driving School Industry is of deep concern to the NDSF.
- As the NDSF we appealed to the former Minister of Transport Mr J. S. Ndebele for a Summit meeting. It was approved in principle.
- Before setting a date, we waited for confirmation of a date suitable to suit the prior bookings of the Minister.
- We were allocated a date and began the process of planning the Summit meeting.
- To our dismay, we were told that he would not attend.
- We see this as a direct lack or appreciation of the valuable role we play in the country.
- Furthermore, we take it in a very serious light, owing to the high road fatalities in South Africa, which we believe can and should be addressed by an exceptionally high standard of driver training, and more effective law enforcement.