Road carnage / Uncooperative Government Departments

One must question the Government’s commitment to road safety.

See:
https://www.arrivealive.co.za/stats.aspx

http://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/rtmc-says-fatalities-a-cause-for-concern/

We at SAIDI, after 44 dedicated years of service to the country,trying to put excellent drivers on the roads, have no alternative but to question the Government’s commitment to road safety on South Africa, despite their assertions to the contrary.

See why:

SAIDI has members in every one of the nine Provinces on South Africa.

We find Government authorities opposing us, not assisting our efforts.

SAIDI is a non-profit making organisation.

SAIDI MEMBERS BELIEVE IN TRANSFORMATION BY EMPOWERING THE INDIVIDUAL TO BECOME INDEPENDENT AND SELF-SUFFICIENT.

HAVING A VALID DRIVING LICENCE IS THE BEST BEE PROJECT EVER!

We believe independent competent drivers are the lifeblood of the economy.

One of the problems we encounter is trying to be registered as a driving instructor in South Africa.

Despite the K53 test standard applying to us all, each Province handles driving instructor applications and renewals differently.

In order to set standards in the Driving School Industry, which we were Constituted to do many, many years ago, after being established as an “umbrella body” over driving instructors since 1977, we at SAIDI have strict membership criteria which includes supplying us with a valid instructor’s certificate.

Unfortunately several Provinces are not allowing driving instructors to apply for new instructor’s certificates, or to renew them annually.

So what must those instructors do? Insurance Companies do not want to insure them.

This is the type of cry we hear:

NORTH WEST PROVINCE:

1.

I’m also struggling to receive my instructor’s in NW, I’m being victimised daily because of it, and I can’t advertise my business around here. This is so frustrating, I can, for example, not test in Lichtenburg (where I’m staying) because when I get to the test, I get humiliated in front of my students and also other people. I had a ton of meetings with members in Lichtenburg and also in Mafikeng, but it falls on deaf ears, but the next day, they want to victimize me, because I don’t have my papers in place? My insurance on my car is also useless at this point.
This is unacceptable.

2.

Not OK cos you making it difficult for me to be ur member,things that u want I’m straggling to get,not struggling I don’t have. How am I going to grow,struggling just to get membership of association, ya things in our country r difficult.

I really need your help,and u r my break thru,imagine running a business for 12 years now,without progress and been passionate about it,where u thing u have a needle to make a break thru,u struggle.
I left applying for my instructor’s certificate 5 years back then I lost hope.

Must we at SAIDI compromise our membership criteria because some Provincial Government Departments refuse to comply with the law?

3.

Hello. l’m still alive and kicking. The Driving School Business has gone down this side. Poor service delivery by MAHIKENG MUNICIPALITY .There is only 1 CODE 10 examiner who from time to time fell sick. Postponement of appointments is the order of the day. Appointments goes up to 3 months. If SAIDl can help please intervine 😢😢😢

How can North West Provincial Government claim to be addressing road carnage if they refuse to process instructor applications?

4.

NORTHERN CAPE PROVINCE:

Good day All,

It is with sadness from our learners side that I must write this email today.

We are running a driving school in Kathu and is very busy especially with code EC.

In Kathu there is only one person who can assess the code EC learners. There was a huge backlog due to no testing being done for some time and when they open the window for registration, everyone booked. This led to a situation where not everyone could be helped since there is a bottleneck now.

The biggest challenge we are facing now is the fact that there were dates booked by the Department for testing.

We have a client with ten internship learners who’s contracts are finishing by the end of the month. A day before the first testing needs to take place we learned that the only officer that can test is going on 3 weeks leave.

This in spite of the fact that there are bookings made for people to be tested. 5 Learners already missed the tests due to this. This means that 5 people from the community that was granted an opportunity to gain something has missed out on it and will most probably not get the another opportunity to do this. We have 10 learners that need to be tested in one week. This means that should the traffic department not be able to arrange something then the 5 learners forfeiting their opportunity can become 10 learners. This is not fair to the learners.

There is a huge demand for code EC training and testing in the NC area, especially around Kathu, Kuruman & Postmasburg area.

It is just not possible to keep up with the demand and there is only one testing officer that can test code EC in Kathu.

I kindly ask for assistance in this matter.

5.

Ons het een van die Bestuurskole in Kimberley.  Ons is moedeloos en baie ongelukkig met die diens of die gebrek aan diens wat ons van die Barkley Wes en Delportshoop DLTC Stasies ontvang.

Barkley Wes is gesluit tot 16 Julie 2018 en niemand het dit geweet nie, tot ons al die pad onnodig soontoe gery het nie.  By nadere ondersoek na ek met Mnr. Graham Visagie gepraat het en hy my verwys het na Ruth Marekwa, dat al 3 beamptes met verlof gaan in hierdie tydperk.  Ek sou dit as baie swak beplanning beskou.

Verlede week het ons Delportshoop toe gegaan en daar gesit van 09h00 tot 16h00 die middag. 

Vandag het ons weer mense soontoe gestuur.  Dit is nou 10h25, en geen beampte is daar nie.  Ek het Kimberley Porvinsiale Verkeer geskakel en hulle sê toe vir my dat die beamptes nog soontoe gaan vandag, maar hulle is nog in ‘n vergadering.

Ek wil graag weet hoe op aarde die beamptes wat alreeds 09h00 daar moet wees, nog in ‘n vergadering sit en as ek skakel word ek vertel hulle sal soontoe ry wanneer hulle klaar is. Wanneer gaan dit wees? Die vergadering kan heel oggend of middag duur en intussen sit die mense ure daar anderkant en wag en weet van niks.

Ons probeer ‘n diens lewer aan ons studente, maar dis bykans onmoontlik om dit reg te kry. Die diens is absoluut pateties. Ons het ook ondervind dat die Kimberley se Provinsiale Verkeerskantore vir ons by meer as een geleentheid gejok het oor redes hoekom die beamptes nie daar is om te werk nie.

Ons het meer as een keer soontoe gery om net so om te draai. Ons moet daardie petrolonkostes self dra. 

Ek wil graag hierdie sakie aanspreek. Ek het by ‘n vorige geleentheid ook gekla en toe is die beamptes snaaks met ons mense want hulle sê ons het hulle “gebrand”.

Ek vra u vriendelik om ons te help met hierdie probleem, want ek is bereid om dit verder te vat. 

Ek was self 28 jaar in verkeer en het hierdie werk self gedoen. Dit is ‘n skande hoe dit nou gaan.

6.

Examiners were seen training a woman in the yard at the Kimberley DLTC. This is illegal but when the matter was queried and reported, it was not handled correctly. The same applicant was tested (and passed?) the next day.

How can Northern Cape Provincial Government claim to be addressing road carnage if they refuse to process driving licence applications? Would they prefer people to buy their driving licences?

7.

KZN Province

We have written countless emails to KZN authorities asking for Provincial requirements for members and would-be members.

All we get is postponed meetings and some members get left out of training offered to meet Provincial requirements.

8.

With regards to what happened last week there were two fire arms confiscated and charges made against them.  The matter is a bit more complicated now as innocent people are been harassed.

I know that I have missed the registration for the owners certificate, however why can’t the DOT acknowledge me as a registered business or driving school. I still have a valid permit. What is stopping them from sorting my issue out? I have all my documents ready for them. 

How can KZN Provincial Government continue to allow militant unregistered driving instructors to demand areas to work in while excluding legitimate, law-compliant driving instructors, which actually endangers their lives?

9.

GAUTENG Province

A very unfair failure where an examiner claimed a client’s vehicle “rolled” (on a downhill pull-off, which is impossible), and the examiner said he went on a road test for 20 minutes (minimum test may only be 21 minutes), but he WAS NOT TAKEN ON A TEST ROUTE AT ALL!

We are promised that appeals will be handled in one week but have experience an appeal in 2018 which took twenty-one weeks to be resolved after receiving the following email:

“Should he pass, the results will be send to the Provincial Offices (he will not be issued with his license yet); after which they will decide when to issue the license.”

But when he re-did the test the applicant was passed with flying colours by the examiner and his temporary licence was immediately issued to him.

The question must be asked, “Was a dishonest incompetent examiner shielded by Gauteng Provincial Government authorities?” If so, why was that examiner not brought before a disciplinary committee? Why was the applicant treated with suspicion and disrespect? He was at that time a law-compliant excellent driver. This did not make the applicant more careful law-abiding. It had a very detrimental effect on him. Sadly, he is not a better driver today because of what he experienced. He is angry, rebellious and apparently driving under the influence on occasion.

10.

A dyslexic young client in Gauteng has consistently applied to both the Provincial Department of Transport as well as to the Randburg DLTC for an oral learner’s licence test since July 2018. He has submitted the required supporting documents saying he was at a special school but despite that he was told to do the computerised test. He has tried repeatedly and failed by just a few marks each time, or runs out of time. Yet he knows the work very well. This is costing the family money they do not have.

Why is a special needs client being side-lined? This applicant really needs his driving licence to be able to be able to obtain some form of employment. How is this empowering the previously disadvantaged youth?

11.

A driving instructor applied correctly for his instructor’s certificate to be renewed in 2014. He is still waiting for his renewal or letter calling him up for a re-test.

What incompetency allows for all the application documents to be lost? How is that possible when Police clearance for fingerprints was paid and returned to the Driving Licence Testing Centre?

Why should excellent driving instructors be forced to work illegally because Provincial authorities refuse to process their applications?

12.

LIMPOPO Province

Driving instructors in Limpopo cannot be registered. They have put their applications in, exactly as they should have. They have paid for their applications more than once, but have receive no reply at all.

They are forced to operate their driving schools illegally since 2013.

How can Limpopo Provincial Government claim to be addressing road carnage if they refuse to process instructor applications?

13.

Eastern Cape Province

SAIDI has had to fight to be able to get a big group of dedicated driving instructors tested and registered as driving instructors. It has taken since the 7th March 2014, only with the help of persistent people like Robert Chandler and Pat Gounder before a few of the instructors eventually were tested and passed. During all that time insurance companies did not want to insure their vehicles due to their not being registered.

This notice was on the Port Elizabeth Driving Licence Testing Centre door.

Why should excellent driving instructors be forced to work illegally because Provincial authorities refuse to process their applications?

14.

NDOT

Despite forming a committee with the four National Driving School Associations, together with other interested parties, on 10th May 2017, legislation still has not been agreed upon for driving schools in South Africa.

SAIDI is part of that Legislative Framework of Driving Schools.

On 6th September 2017 at a meeting held at NDoT, the Driving School Associations (as the Stakeholders of the Driving School Industry in South Africa), were promised that no legislation for our industry would be passed without our input and approval.

A subsequent meeting, scheduled for 27 February 2018, planned months in advance, was cancelled on 20th February.

NDoT and the RTMC representatives do not seem to realise that those who represent the driving school industry were all willing to forgo the loss of income, for the long-anticipated legislation of the driving school industry, although there are a few issues we need to discuss and agree upon before that can be finalized.

We received an email informing us that a new date for the said meeting would be communicated to us in due course.

We have never been invited to another meeting. WHY NOT?

Clearly the regulation of the Driving School Industry is not a priority for NDoT or Provincial authorities or the RTMC.

Since driving instructors put new drivers on South African roads, can their significant influence on their client’s driving attitudes and driving styles contribution continue to be unchecked and unmonitored.

The massive illegal driving instruction industry is left to it’s own devices, no matter how corrupt some of the fly-by-night types are, while legal dedicated honest driving instructor’s efforts are seemingly unappreciated.

The last communication received regarding the Legislative
Framework of Driving Schools stated:

The committee will now be called Driving School  Task Team. The composition of this task team was also agreed and it is included in the Terms of Reference. From the NDOT it includes; Mr Mohan, Mr Maphakela, Adv Magagane, Adv Mafuraha and Adv Thoka.

No subsequent meetings have been called since 20th February 2018.

So, to date, NO LEGISLATION EXISTS FOR DRIVING SCHOOLS AT ALL!

Legitimately registered driving instructors battle for survival while providing their few clients with expensive, roadworthy, insured and branded, dual-controlled vehicles.

Does the National Department of Transport support Driving School Associations setting high standards for driving schools?

Most definitely not!

No assistance of any description is offered to Driving School Associations promoting safe driving instructors to reduce road carnage by the South African Government to ensure that safe drivers on the road, yet the economy is completely dependent on the driving skills of the public for any and every form of commerce and industry. Can they afford not to assist us to achieve that is some small way? No!

Road accidents are costing South Africa’s economyR142,95 billion, says Transport Minister Dipuo Peters. This is according to a 2016 study by the Road Traffic Management Corporation and the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research.Nov 23, 2016

How the struggle for survival against the unregistered “driving instructors” affected legitimate driving schools and driving instructors?:

Many dedicated, registered driving instructors have given up. They simply could not afford to continue and have never received any support at all from the Government.

For example, most Driving Instructors do not earn regular salaries, have pension funds or medical aids, unless they have managed somehow to afford to take out private policies. They are frequently refused financing; usually struggle to purchase vehicles since they do not earn salaries and do not have a regular dependable income.

Work is seasonal, often falling away drastically at exam times and over Christmas. Certain clients can be difficult, unreasonable and very demanding.

With the pressure everyone is under, the public can be quite merciless when learners are struggling to drive in traffic for the first time, even if they are complying with the law.

Tests are not always fairly conducted, which does not help because the one who buy their licences are driving on our roads and the ones who have taken many lessons and practised for many hours at considerable expense, until their standard is just about perfect, can be failed over unfair issues.

Insurance is heavily loaded. Insurance Companies do not automatically reduce premiums as the value of vehicles is reduced as time passes. Premiums are far higher than for ordinary vehicles, regardless of no claims for many years, with very steep excesses and penalties for 17-year old learner drivers, which is the average time that learner drivers attend driving schools for training. Fuel prices are constantly soaring.

Office premises are unaffordable for smaller, more dedicated driving instructors who reply on word-of-mouth referrals who are operating as some derisively refer to as “one-man bands” by those larger driving schools that have frequently achieved their affluent status by some unknown form of corruption.

Most small driving schools do not see their clients as faceless sources of income, but take a personal interest in their client’s struggles.

Larger driving schools employing numerous driving instructors might have a quick turnover of staff, often taken in off the street and given a “crash course” in driving instruction techniques, with predictable results, who stay for a brief time, then open in opposition to them as soon as they can afford their own vehicle/s, so there can be a lack of standards, continuity and accountability during their period of employment.

One example we became aware of was a driving instructor in Mpumalanga about 10 years ago who charged R3500 back then for the use of his heavy-duty articulated truck for the test, after having provided applicants with absolutely NO training at all. He laughed, saying he knew he could risk his expensive vehicle because drivers were most likely to roll within minutes of starting the test, so he could easily book three tests in a morning.

i.e. He earned an average of R10 500 per morning. Not surprising that he could afford fancy office premises and articulated vehicles, but in order to continue to operate, he would be forced to continue to defraud the public, while being totally disinterested in the quality of drivers he/she produced. It was also noticed that he was a very heavy drinker in the evenings. How could that have improved the quality of his instruction or his mood and patience with his pupils during the day?

But for the average driving instructor:

Many increasing costs indicate that driving instructors need to increase their fees, yet the public cannot afford to pay increased prices for driving instruction, so they prefer to go to the “fly-by-night instructors” who undercut them.

In fact, with families to support, many excellent driving instructors can barely keep bread on the table since the competition against the unregistered driving instructors is so fierce.

Of course the fly-by-nights can afford to undercut the legal driving instructors, sometimes changing sides with the learner who caused the crash because they have taken out a cheap insurance policy for private use.

Instructors sometimes resort to fierce competition to beat their colleagues and to claim their place in their area. Dirty tricks are often employed, such as advertising 100% guaranteed passes for learner’s licences. One can be sure corruption is involved whenever such claims are made.

Unregistered illegal “fly-by-night” driving instructors:

Their vehicles are possibly unroadworthy, uninsured, not fitted with dual controls. Many of them run off with the public’s money then the learner drivers cry once their money is gone, frequently turning to SAIDI for help, or begging members to train them on minimum lessons at reduced prices. Members try but complain that it is an unreasonable request causing stress to them and their clients.

Yet illegal, unregistered “fly-by-night” instructors are permitted by Government to take applicants on test even in Provinces where it is possible to obtain a legal driving instructor’s certificate. We watch. We see what happens. Nobody is preventing them from taking clients on test, that’s for sure!

For example:

60 illegals to 1 legal instructor in one small area, charging much less, does not give a registered instructor much hope or surviving does it? How does that affect road carnage? Why do those in authority preferably blame drunken driving and road rage? Yes – these are very definitely factors, serious contributory causes, but the root cause of road carnage, disabilities and lawlessness is a lack of excellent driver training in South Africa.

All over the country countless illegal “driving schools” operate unchecked.

The blood of countless South Africans spilled on our roads does not seem to affect the consciences of many of those authorities in NDoT, Provincial Departments and Local Government traffic departments nor in SAPS responsible for traffic law enforcement, it seems, provided those in charge in some Government Departments pocket massive salaries and ride the gravy train with all the pomp and ceremony accorded to people actually deserving their homage.

15.

According to the Constitution,

SCHEDULE 4 Functional Areas of Concurrent National and Provincial Legislative Competence Part A

Road traffic regulation falls under NDoT and Provincial administration so why did DDG Hlabisa (NDoT) say, “Because I said so?” when he handed over the task of establishing the first curriculum to the RTMC? Surely the Constitution is the highest law of the land?

Is NDot abdicating their Constitutional responsibility by passing the setting of driving instructor standards to the RTMC?

It seems that the Government does not care that those same members might be committing fraud by “training” their clients when they are not legally qualified or registered to do so.

16.

RTMC

How can the RTMC agree to work with Associations of driving instructors without first checking their membership criteria?

Four National Associations for driving schools exist in South Africa.

Membership criteria differ for each Association.

While SAIDI has very strict membership criteria (See “Join Us”), other Associations do not. The number of registered driving instructors in South Africa compared to “fly-by–night instructors” vast. The huge majority of driving instructors in South Africa operate illegally.

Despite SAIDI questioning this matter repeatedly, it seems the Government does not require any standards from Driving School Associations or their members in order to work with them, even if their members are directly or indirectly responsible for massive road carnage by teaching their clients to the incorrect or very low standards, possibly, in many cases bribing examiners to pass their clients, (while possibly bribing certain unethical Government officials to work in a covert manner with them).

Road crash statistics produced by the RTMC are questionable. Fatalities are quoted. Serious injuries caused by crashes which result in fatalities or disabilities are not released. Yet the RTMC is applying for yet another increase in licensing fees. See below:

SAIDI has worked with some misgivings with this flawed group of people since it is imperative that something must be done to try to put safer drivers on South African roads, despite the unfortunate circumstances by which that must be achieved.