On Thursday 4th June 2015, driving schools were invited to Nasrec to witness the official unveiling of the Gauteng School Learner Driver Programme.
Years ago members of the National Driving School Forum had been approached to discuss driving lessons for disadvantaged students. We were offered R25.00 an hour to teach the learners, which was a ridiculously low amount. As much as we wanted to assist, we could never cover our running costs at that rate.
We had been contacted towards the end of last year by certain driving schools who reported that bus loads of scholars were being taken to various test centres to write the written learners licence tests, on Saturdays, namely Boksburg.
Objections from several instructors were expressed about the fact that the public were failing the computerised tests in great numbers and all objections had been ignored and denied by both the National and Provincial Departments of Transport as well as the RTMC, so instructors were not pleased when busloads of these clients were given “easier” test appointments at test centres not yet using the computerised tests.
It was seen as unfair due to apparent block bookings and priority bookings for this programme while instructors and their clients had to wait for test dates.
It did not take long for various members to contact us expressing consternation about the loss of work.
This matter had been raised at the Gauteng Legislature on 29th January 2015, when we met with the Department of Education, Social Services and various other Government Departments.
Then we received calls and emails from members who said fleets of vehicles with the Gauteng School Learner Driver Programme were being given the monopoly at Langlaagte Driving Licence Testing Centre, Johannesburg, on Wednesdays.
Reports of low standards of training and free lessons and very few lessons were reported by driving instructors not specifically from SAIDI, but random instructors too. I forwarded an email to various authorities.
In principle this seems to be a good project empowering students to leave school with a learners and driving licence. We reserve judgement on behalf of the interests of our members.
More about this later.