I was recently notified by SMS that my driving licence is due for renewal, and a link pointed towards the eNatis system to book.

As a law-abiding citizen, I followed the link, and never have I experienced such an abysmal system.

There are no slots available to book an appointment (though I doubt the date/time is relevant) unless you’re prepared to drive out into the boondocks (my Google Maps doesn’t know where they are).

When you give up on that frustrating process you drive to a licensing department within an hour’s drive — Joburg is a sprawling city and it takes hours to get anywhere. Once you arrive, a scribbled notice says the system is down. No mention of how serious, for how long or when it’s likely to work again.

There are two phone numbers. The first goes to a “night call” number, even at 10am. They don’t work at night.  The second number just rings and rings.

A quick Google search for advice shows many reports saying there’s a backlog of almost 500,000 applications, and more than people are driving without licences. At least 20% of the drivers on our roads seem to have got theirs from lucky packets.

I’m ready, willing and able to abide by the law. I have had an eye test, printed out my proof of residential address, and had photos taken. Surely there is at least one competent person in that department, even if their skills are only to answer the phone?

Mark Wade, Johannesburg

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