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Driving licence call centre assessed

Business Day - 5 October 2010

The department had cancelled its contract with operator Sibize Calling International, Gauteng transport department spokesman Philemon Motshwaedi said.

THE Gauteng labour department may reimplement its centralised, computer-based driving licence booking centre, after suspending it last week.

The centralised booking centre has for years sparked public outrage because of long backlogs and shoddy service.

The department had cancelled its contract with operator Sibize Calling International, Gauteng transport department spokesman Philemon Motshwaedi said.

The Gauteng Shared Services Centre would help the department assess the service provided by the five-year-old call centre, and might run bookings in the future, he said.

The computer-based system had proven to be very expensive, with operation costs of R90m last year, Mr Motshwaedi said. It had not provided the access needed to people wanting to book learner’s and driver’s tests and had not removed human error either .

The system replaced a manual system five years ago because of “its reliance on humans”, Mr Motshwaedi said.

Driving instructors have told their clients not to book at certain stations because of administerial incompetence.

Democratic Alliance labour spokesman Manny de Freitas said he received complaints weekly from driving schools.

“The bottom line is that the non manual system hasn’t worked. It’s not user-friendly and it has made things as difficult as possible for everyone,” he said.

Driving instructor Kris Singh said he preferred the electronic system. “Honestly, we don’t pay for the manual system, which suits us, but people have to take days off from work to book their tests, which can be very hassle-some.”

This article was published on Business Day on 5 October 2010