SDIA. Service Delivery Induced Anxiety. It’s a thing and I was suffering from it ever since I realised that my drivers license was expiring in September. I had heard on the news about backlogs, online applications, grace periods and exorbitant costs of drivers license renewals. TIA my son said to me… This Is Africa. And I felt complete dread in having to go through the process.
This may sound like a rant on the cusp of municipal elections in South Africa but it isn’t. Well, not entirely. As with most things I’m unsure about, like converting cups to mls, how to clean a washing machine, answers to grade 5 Sudoku challenges that no normal human being can figure out and best hyper pigmentation products, I took to the internet for “how to renew my license without falling apart”. I was directed to the online booking website. I tried for a month to find an available slot at the closest licensing department but to no avail.
The Drivers License Renewal Process
The website does tell you that new slots open up daily at 12pm and 4pm. Finally on the day that I logged on at 12pm sharp, I found 4 slots and chose 1. Easy enough, filled out the application and received email confirmation.
- a copy of my ID
- 2 photos for the temporary license (it was 1 actually)
- and an eye test certificate (optional as you can have it done there as well).
The dreaded queues
On the day, I arrived at the department (Randburg) on time for my appointment slot only to be met by a long queue of people who were also waiting for their time slots.
I anticipated spending the day there and wished I’d brought some snacks and sanitiser. After about 20 minutes I was moved to a shorter queue and from then on the process took roughly an hour.
Payment was made with a credit card which I didn’t realise was possible so that was impressive. Unless, of course, Eskom chooses to loadshed just then! The longer queue of people was still there and I’m not sure if it was because they had just arrived without having completed the online application. So best to do that and not just walk-in.
Communication is usually not great and it wasn’t this time either. So moving from one spot to another I wasn’t quite sure how far along the process I was and there was no one to ask. Chatting to the lady next to me she said that she’d been waiting for an appointment since Feb. The other lady next to me had her drivers license stolen a few weeks ago and didn’t wait too long for a slot to appear. I would suggest,:
- firstly, looking at your license to realise it is expired.
- Then using your PC and not your phone to make the online application.
- Then expect to spend at most 2 hours at the department.
- Licenses ought to be ready within 6 weeks but to be safe, drop in at the department after 8 weeks and check if it is ready for collection.
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