GRAAFF-REINET NEWS - Graaff-Reinet residents in need of a learner's licence or driving permit will have to travel as far as Somerset East or Willowmore, as these services are currently suspended at the Dr Beyers Naudé Traffic Department in Graaff-Reinet.
According to a reliable source, who wishes to remain anonymous, an inspectorate from the Eastern Cape Department of Transport visited the local office last week Wednesday and declared that it was not up to standard.
"There are not enough employees to maintain the services," the source told the Advertiser. "One person does the eye tests, applications and payments."
According to reports, the municipality has until 27 October to appeal the service cuts.
An employee of the local department told the Advertiser that other services, such as licence renewals and professional driving permit applications, are still intact. "Residents who already had appointments for a learner's or driver's licence will not be affected, but no new appointment can be made for the next 30 days," the employee said.
The suspension of services comes three months after Cradock's traffic department suspended its services, also due to a lack of employees.
Local driving school owner, Morné 'Basjan' Mulder, says the lack of services from the local department will disadvantage the public. "School children will have to take off an entire day from school to travel far for their licences," he said.
A local mother, who asked that her name be withheld, was unable to make an appointment for her son's driving test last week. "My child is in Grade 11 and busy with exams. He can't miss school right now. We don't know what we're going to do," she said.
Johannes Plaatjies, owner of Mr D Driving School, was saddened by the news. "I have already started to lose business. People don't have money, they can't pay to do tests outside of town," he said.
"I hope the municipality will get its act together."
Adam Hartzenberg of Camdeboo Driving Lessons said the situation is creating a huge dilemma for his firm.
"If we can't get appointments, we can't get clients," he said.
"We hope and trust that the issue will be resolved quickly, especially now that learners are finishing school and need their licences."
Despite numerous attempts to obtain comment from the municipality, they did not respond in time for print.
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