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Frustration prevalent at licensing centre - LONG queues and extended turn-around times continued to dominate services at the Centurion Licensing Department, which opened for services at the end of last week after two weeks of being offline.

The centre, on Nellmapius Drive, was packed to the rafters on Friday.

Lines stretched into the centre’s parking lot, with people expressing their fear at the unlikelihood of reaching the doors before the 3pm closing time.

“I was here last week and the system was offline. I’m here again now and I’m stuck in this long queue,” said one frustrated Centurion resident.

“They told me when I was here last week that I should go to Rustenburg because their systems were online.”

For two weeks, the centre has had to turn away hundreds of people looking to renew their licences and licence discs and to apply for driving or learner’s licence tests due to their system being offline.

They were only open for collections of driver’s licences.

City of Tshwane spokesperson Lindela Mashigo had blamed the vandalising of a substation saying that had led to severe power failure.

He also blamed a fault with a Telkom line which was linked to the system and also mentioned a problem with the eNatis system which was recently taken over by the Department of Transport.

“We apologise to residents as the problems experienced are not necessarily within our realm to fix. We are relying on Telkom and the provincial and national transport departments to fix what is going on,” Mashigo said.

But even with the system up and running at the end of last week, customers said the problems with services, which had plagued the centre for years, looked set to continue.

One man said he arrived before 8am to find the line of waiting motorists already reaching the parking lot. By 11am he had made it to a spot on the benches along the passage leading to the main doors of the centre.

Another man said people had been waiting in line since 6am, leaving just after 9:30.

“We wake up even earlier than we do when we go to work just so we can come here and be helped,” said another resident.

There were three separate lines - one for collecting driving licences, one for renewing driving licences, and another for learner’s licence tests.

Security guards were on hand to direct and keep order in the queues and to distribute forms for people to fill in before getting into the centre.

Inside the centre there seemed to be empty booths with no one manning them.

There were two cashiers for driving licence appointments, four people administering eye tests for driving licences and two people manning the booth for motor vehicle enquiries.

The two booths for licence collections were empty when the Pretoria News paid them a visit.

The department has in recent years attracted visits from government officials such as the Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe.

He was told during his 2015 visit that most people were dissatisfied with the service but were there because it was conveniently close to their homes or places of work.

Former executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa and MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi also paid a visit to the centre.

Residents complained about the lengths of the queues, the time they spent there and lack of customer service.

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