Saturday traffic service blues

Diane Longmore, Constantia

On Thursday October 5, my 17-year-old son, Angus, went to the New Ottery testing centre to make a booking for his learner’s licence.

As stated on the Western Cape government website, he had the R68 cash fee required, two prescribed black-and-white photos, his microchipped ID card (and me with my ID book, just in case).

When we reached the front of the first queue, we were told he had to have proof that he lived where he said he did, ie, with his parents.

My ID book and current proof of address were not acceptable – we were given a form and told to get an affidavit from a police station.

I queried this with the hostile staff member and was told this procedure had been in place for two years and was stated on the aforementioned website; the small print must be very small as we couldn’t find it anywhere.

We returned on the following Saturday with the required affidavit, and three queues and three hours later, we had finally made the appointment.

The irony of it is that at the police station, a very friendly desk clerk told my son to complete the form and asked me to sign it. He gave it the official stamp of approval and cheerfully bade us goodbye without having looked at any of our documentation, save Angus’s ID card.

As we left, our smiley, jovial government official asked Angus to help the mom and son behind us complete their form.

PS: Avoid going on Saturday mornings, as staff are not obliged to work then and often don’t arrive.