Driver’s battle to be on the road

THULANI MAGAZI

A Gugulethu man is hopping mad after he was ordered by the City’s traffic department to surrender his driving licence weeks after obtaining it at Gordon’s Bay Traffic Department.

Mkhuseli Jela said he passed his driving licence test in March 2012, but he never laid his hands on the driving licence after it emerged “the examiner had miscalculated” his marks.

He was instead told to return his temporary driving licence “without any proper explanation”.

Almost four years later Mr Jela says he is still in the dark about the circumstances surrounding the move. In fact he is accusing traffic authorities of playing hide- and-seek with him.

The 40-year-old says over the last three years he has been going up and down, trying to get his licence, but is getting no co-operation from the traffic department. As a last resort, Mr Jela said he was advised to report the matter to the media, hence he is only speaking out now.

In an interview with Vukani, Mr Jela said two weeks after he passed he was requested to report back at Gordon’s Bay Traffic Department with his temporary licence.

Upon his arrival, he said the officials seized his licence. They told him he failed the test, but did not give him any further details. Soon after, he left the province. It was when he returned that his real nightmare began.

He said he went to Green Point to enquire about his licence, but was told to go to Gordon’s Bay as there was a “lock code” needed to access his licence. He said he went to Gordon’s Bay, but was given the run-around. Since then, he has been in a bitter battle to have his licence back.

Mr Jela said he was never given detailed information about why he allegedly failed the test. He has been given different stories, leaving a bitter pill to swallow.

“At some point I was told my marks were over, but they did not say they are taking my licence. I was only told there is an investigation into my licence, and they will get back to me, but they never did,” he said.

Mr Jela said the situation has complicated his life and limited his prospects for a good job. “They are giving me the cold shoulder now whenever I go there. This is very frustrating because I need to know what is going on,” said Mr Jela.

However, the City refuted claims that Mr Jela was not adequately informed of the problems regarding his licence.

Richard Coleman, spokesman for Cape Town Traffic Services, insisted that Mr Jela was informed of the “miscalculation and asked to surrender the temporary driving licence. While he expressed disappointment at the turn of events, he indicated that he understood and surrendered the temporary licence as requested,” said Mr Coleman.

Subsequent to that Mr Coleman said Mr Jela was given options to fast-track his new driving test. He accused Mr Jela of not taking the help given to him. He said he was given another date to do his test in May, but “he did not arrive for the test”.

However, an irritated Mr Jela vehemently denied claims that he was informed of the decision to surrender his licence.

“They are lying. I did my other licence test to improve my code not because I was advised to,” he said. “If they had told me and I understood, why would I go there all the time and waste my money?”

He added: “These people must tell the truth. We had a number of heated exchanges about this matter. I want my licence back.”

Asked how often people are asked to surrender their licences because of mistakes made by examiners and what actions were taken against offending officers, Mr Coleman described the incident as “unfortunate” saying it does not happen often.

He said the error was picked up during “quality assurance checks” and disciplinary measures were instituted against the examiner. But they could not say exactly what happened to the examiner who is still working.