THE letter by Mogomotsi Mogodiri, headlined "Ndebele has no idea", in Sowetan on February 11 refers.
Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele is perfectly aware that certain driving licence applicants are experiencing difficulty in getting bookings on time in some provinces such as Gauteng.
Ndebele has brought the matter to the attention of Gauteng MEC for roads and transport Bheki Nkosi. To this end, on February 9, Nkosi announced that his department would increase capacity at provincial and municipal licensing centres by employing additional examiners and allowing for longer booking hours.
The Department of Transport is constantly engaged with provinces and municipalities about service delivery at the 371 driving licence testing centres. Several testing stations are now open outside normal working hours, including Saturdays. We have also moved towards computerised licensing testing systems and have rolled out mobile and fixed stations in various parts of the country.
Further, in partnership with the Department of Basic Education, road safety education is being introduced as part of the life skills curriculum at schools. Learners in Grade 11 will be able to acquire their learner's and driver's licences as they complete Grade 12.
But not being able to secure a booking for a driver's licence test does not give anyone the right to be let loose on the road to kill.
According to the National Road Traffic Act (Act 93 of 1996), any person who drives a motor vehicle on a public road must be in possession of a valid driver's licence. So it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle without a valid driving licence.
In the event of a collision the driver will be charged for being unlicensed and a civil claim for damages might be instituted against an unlicensed driver.
The South African Insurance Association has also stated that insurance policy terms and conditions support the law of the country, and require that a driver authorised to drive an insured vehicle should hold a valid driver's licence. The insurance industry will not honour any claims where drivers are not in possession of a valid driver's licence.
So why is magistrate David Thulare, who is supposed to be a custodian of our law, advocating lawlessness?
Ndebele has referred comments attributed to Thulare - that you can drive without a licence if you can prove that your learner's licence has expired after you tried to be tested several times but to no avail, to the Magistrates' Commission.
We want to warn road users that any driver who is not in possession of a valid licence will be arrested.