Still under construction:
The Professional Driving Instructors of South Africa:
- SAIDI Members are the professional driving instructors of South Africa.
- We aim to professionalise the industry.
- New members are issued with a membership certificate and two stickers for their vehicles, so that they are identifiable as SAIDI members.
- Unfortunately, there is a (frequently deserved) perception that driving school owners, (and the instructors that work for them), are mostly a poorly-educated and rough group of people driving uninsured, un-roadworthy vehicles, and who are not averse to bribery, corruption and robbery of their clients, while setting a very bad example of driving standards, misuse of alcohol and drugs, and who can often be frightening “low-lifes.”
- To them, the K53 standard of test is a joke to be taught with great disrespect, as if it is a petty series of silly actions to be carried out as demanded by incompetent examiners in order to pass a driving licence test. They will tell their pupils to comply “just to get the licence, then to drive like “everybody else.”
- We teach K53 the way it was meant to be taught – as a defensive driving course for learner drivers! How essential in a country with such a high road fatality rate!
- Admittedly, no-one in their right mind would want to send their young adult daughter (or son for that matter), to this type of driving instructor, yet we have seen this type of person very active in the driving school industry.
- By joining SAIDI, and being accepted as a member, immediately gives you credibility in the industry.
Why SAIDI Members are the exception rather than the rule:
- SAIDI is the oldest Association for driving instructors, having been started 37 years ago by the Government at that time, in order to regulate the driving school industry.
- Sadly, the previous Government did not feel it would be correct to make it compulsory for every driving instructor to belong to SAIDI at that time. If a law had been passed that every instructor should belong to SAIDI, we believe the corruption in our industry would have been reduced to a very small percentage.
- The feeling is still the same, which we really believe is a big mistake. We believe every driving instructor should be legally compelled to join any one of a number of approved “Umbrella Bodies.”
- Since legislation is anticipated (Draft Government Gazette Notice 575 of 2012 18 July 2012 No. 35528), where driving schools are to be legally acknowledged for the first time in the history of South Africa, we are revising our Constitution to include driving schools.
- Our members have access to the Road Traffic Legislation 93 of 1996. Members are to receive small sections of the law on a weekly basis.
- When proposed changes in legislation occur, we immediately send those changes to our members, inviting their comments, which we submit on behalf of our members’ concerns.
- If they have a legal query, we are very privileged to be able to refer to our honorary member, Howard Dembovsky, National Chairperson of the Justice Project, South Africa, for his expert input.
We are the not so much an Association, so much as a Training Institute, with strict membership requirements:
- Before we accept a driving instructor as a member, they must supply us with a fairly long list of requirements.
- Very few instructors can comply with these requirements, which include being able to produce a valid instructor’s certificate, (which means they have has a fingerprint clearance from the police, and a medical report from their doctor and have been tested to the K53 standard of driving).
How membership of SAIDI benefits the members directly, the parents of our young learner drivers, the Government
- Our members immediately gain a professional status.
- We value our members diverse backgrounds, qualifications, talents, skills and hobbies.
- Look through our members pages to get an example of how varied and wonderfully gifted group of people this is! Among them are hidden diamonds!
- SAIDI members come from backgrounds where they worked or qualified as ex-examining officers, a Public Prosecutor, a Pilot and Pastor, entrepreneurs, retired businessmen, housewives, mothers, fathers,grandparents, school teachers, motor mechanics, a baked potato seller, a pharmaceutical assistant, a brewer, school-leavers, artists, IT experts, athletes, sports fanatics and so many more unexpected interests and skills which all combine into a very interesting and mixed group of talented people!
- When we get together, there is a happy noisy group of people enjoying getting together and exchanging ideas and thoughts with others in our industry who know and understand the pressures we work under.
- Our colleagues understand conversations interspersed with comments and directions to a client under our training.
- We understand the worrying quiet times, and seasonal busy periods and quiet periods.
No-one is excluded:
- Our members are immediately included on our mailing list and regularly informed by email of anything happening in our industry, as well as news about things of interest in our line of work.
We represent members concerns at Government meetings:
- We represent members and their concerns at meetings with the National Department of Transport (NDoT) and at Provincial Departments of Transport. We also attend various other meetings, such as at the RTMC. Minutes of these meetings are sent to members as soon as possible.
- We try to assist members with queries, forwarding them to the correct authorities, in some cases, and even take them further where we cannot get satisfaction.
We form a bridge between our clients, their parents (in many cases), their employers (in others), Provincial and National Government Departments, and Corporate South Africa.
- We advertise our members on our websites, because we believe the public needs safe driving instructors who operate under our Code of Conduct.
- The low-life fly-by-nights found in our industry do not inspire confidence, as a whole.
- We defend members when the need arises.
Instructors using alcohol and drugs:
- We know of many “driving instructors” who pride themselves on this type of mentality and behaviour, sometimes even enticing vulnerable learner drivers into this lifestyle with them!
We hereby state emphatically that we do not approve of the “fly-by-night” instructors, nor support their views, or lifestyles, or the bad example they are, or the bad name they give our profession. There is a vast difference between them and our members.
We represent driving instructors and driving schools which have made the decision to operate legally, despite the fact that these disreputable people have as much access to the drivers licence testing centres as legal driving instructors, and are frequently seen laughing with the examiners. We see what they are doing and we must carry on on the right track, regardless.
- SAIDI was constituted to represent the professional, legally registered driving instructors of South Africa.
- We are very proud of the integrity of those driving instructors in the country who have chosen to operate legally by becoming registered, and legal driving instructors.
- We are particularly proud to advertise our own members, because they have signed that they will comply with SAIDI’s Code of Conduct.
- We have great respect for those who have ensured that they have corrected their own driving standard by taking defensive and advanced driving courses in order to offer their clients a higher level of safety on the road.
- So, firstly, it is our strong desire to raise the level of respect for our profession, – yes (!) – we are professionals, despite the types who bring our industry into disrepute.….
We are frequently shocked by the abuse of the public:
- A member of the public hooted and shouted at an instructor, when a pupil stalled in front of her vehicle, “if you had any intelligence, you would have qualified to be something better than a driving instructor!” before racing away in a cowardly way. If it were not so blatantly ignorant, it would be funny!
- When slow learner drivers are shaking with fear, on their first trip into traffic, and gripping the steering wheel tightly, when we are doing all we can to reassure them and calm them down, we often suffer verbal abuse and disgraceful behaviour from other drivers, such as overtaking over no-overtaking lines, painted islands and mini-circles, on the right-hand side of the road just to get past our vehicles, even if we are travelling as close to the speed limit as they can manage, and then it often happens that some immature person suddenly cuts in front of our vehicles, almost hitting our vehicles, swearing and hooting, as they furiously try to teach us a “lesson.”
- In a general climate of respect for professionals with degrees, driving instructors fall way below the general perception of “heroes” to many people.
- However, it is SAIDI’s role to increase public appreciation and earned deserved respect for those men and women who patiently and calmly, sit alongside terrified new drivers every day, guiding them safely in heavy traffic conditions, risking their own lives, bodies and futures for strangers, often other people’s children, for a comparatively paltry sum, in a country where lawlessness and an almost complete lack of visible law-enforcement, permits appalling violations of law to be committed constantly, with impunity, against these poor learner drivers.
- Since there are countries where driving instructors are valued and respected professionals, we see our role at one which changes the South African concept of our chosen career to it’s rightful place.