DA calls for urgent intervention at Free State licensing and testing centres

Issued by Dr Roy Jankielsohn MPL – Leader of the Opposition in the Free State
24 Jan 2021 in Press Statements

Note to Editors: Please see the attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Dr Roy Jankielsohn MPL, the Leader of the Opposition in the Free State.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written a detailed letter to the MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, Mr Sam Mashinini, to fast-track measures aimed at expediting service delivery at licensing and testing centres across the Free State.

There is growing discontent and frustration among the public over the inadequate services, and in many instances lack of services, from licencing and testing centres in the Free State, which is fast becoming a serious crisis in the province. After receiving many complaints from residents across the Free State, the DA conducted a survey in various towns to assess the situation.

The most common complaints received from various offices across the Free State relate to the following:

• Limited operating hours;

• Offices running out of paper and other logistical supplies;

• Offices only supplying certain services while people are often only informed of this after queuing for a long time;

• Some offices having been closed due to theft of equipment or other reasons such as comorbidities of staff with no indication when they will open again;

• People travelling from towns where services are not available only to be informed that they are unable to be served at offices in other towns; and

• Complaints of staff being rude and unprofessional towards the public.

The DA has requested that an audit be carried out immediately on offices in all towns to determine what is preventing them from delivering all the services required, and what measures need to be implemented to mitigate the identified problems causing backlogs and poor services.

The DA wants to see offices at licencing and testing centres remaining open to deliver all services until early evening and on weekends to deal with backlogs. We also want to see staff being trained to be professional and efficient when dealing with the public. Where the lack of municipal services such as water and electricity is an issue, then the Department must ensure that JoJo tanks and/or generators are available. Covid-19 decontamination at licencing and testing centres should be done expeditiously and offices must re-open immediately afterwards.

If the Covid-19 pandemic means it is not business as usual, then government must take unusual steps to ensure that its citizens are able to obey the law and receive services from the government. The social contract between government and its citizens is a two-way relationship, so if government expects citizens to obey the law, then they must carry out their side of the contract.

The DA will continue to do oversight over these services and hold the provincial government accountable for poor services in the Free State Legislature.