Licensing Station: The good, the bad and the ugly

Photo for illustrative purposes. (Photo: Pixabay)

(I would like to state at the outset that the staff did not know I was from the Record and therefore I did not receive preferential treatment. The fact that I failed my test also attests to this.)

Despite Teddy Msimang only having been at the helm of the ship for about six months, he is definitely making inroads at Florida Licensing Station. It seems like most of his employees are on board.

The past two weeks I had to visit the station three times in my personal capacity – to book my motorcycle driver’s test and to actually take the test. I was pleasantly surprised. First of all I did not see the congestion or the extremely long queues of the past. Staff members were friendlier in general and more willing to help. The clinical bureaucratic air seemed to have cleared. When I ran into a legitimate challenge, the supervisor made a plan to accommodate me despite the fact that he did not have to. My examiner and his assistant, Musa Ngcobo and Zampie Masimula, were professional, friendly and patient. Ngcobo did not mind to explain two, even three times what he expected from me, and after I had failed he took time to discuss my mistakes at length. Masimula’s friendly demeanour helped to calm my nerves.

Also Read: Man scammed out of R14 000 at licensing station

I had the opportunity to spend some time with Msimang and it was clear he was a man on a mission. In his office he had CCTV monitors. The reason for this is twofold – on the one hand to keep an eye out for any irregularities or criminal activity on the premises, and on the other to make sure his staff’s performance is becoming of public servants. Walking along the corridors he greeted staff and the public with equal courtesy.

The downside was the small number of staff who are not towing the line yet. One or two still did not exactly radiate friendliness and made me feel like they were doing me a favour. One female staff member enjoyed her lunch in a rather unsavoury fashion in full view of the public. But that said, they were in the minority.

The major headache remains the loiterers outside who intimidate and defraud the public. This, though, is not Msimang’s fault. He even patrols the perimeter himself from time to time and has given his security staff strict instructions regarding the scoundrels. In April the Metro Police posted a dedicated unit at the station which saw many successes. A substantial number of arrests were made while they were stationed there until June. Charges suspects were arrested for included drug possession, drug dealing, assault and fraud.

Unfortunately the unit has been redeployed, but Msimang has vowed to fight for their return.

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Riaan van Zyl

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