They say the Greater Tzaneen Municipality‘s licensing department takes weeks, sometimes months to register sold vehicles to the new owners.
“Sometimes the new owners have to renew a permit three to five times before the vehicle is registered by the municipality,” said one of the motor dealers who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimised.
Some of the motor dealers are contemplating retrenching workers or even closing shop because they say the municipality is failing them.
“We lose a lot of money as a result of the municipality‘s failure to help us. Some of our customers get fines from traffic officers for driving unregistered vehicles and they bring the fine back to us to pay because it is not their fault. The banks withhold finance for cars because there are no registration papers for the vehicle financed,” said another dealer.
They say that every time they enquire about progress on registration of motor vehicles they get different excuses.
Sometimes the officials will say the power went off while they were busy, they are offline, while some of the staff members went on course or on leave or attended meetings. Municipal spokesperson, Neville Ndlala conceded that there are problems in the licensing department.
”We must acknowledge that our licensing services are at the moment not at their optimal level due to numerous reasons amongst them, staff shortages. There are other contributing factors such as network problems or downtime and an everincreasing vehicle population,” said Ndlala.
He said the department handles approximately 14 000 face value transactions which include vehicle license renewals, temporary permits, change of ownership etc.
“This is of course taking its toll on our cashiers who have to sometimes sacrifice their lunch breaks to deal with the backlog and work abnormal hours to ensure that clients get the service. We also have to balance the needs of the general public and the needs of the dealerships, which of course affects both,” he said.
Ndlala said one of the other reasons is that there are delays in relation to dealerships’ applications is the submission of incomplete documents which are immediately rejected and sent back to the dealership.
“This means that the turnaround time will be longer. There is a lot of regulated paperwork that must accompany each application and this is audited regularly. Any of our officials who disregard these procedures might have their privileges revoked, which means their access to the system will be blocked leading to further backlogs,” he explained.
He added that the municipality has come to an agreement that the turnaround time for dealerships will be 48 hours provided all relevant documents are submitted and application forms are duly completed.
“We are further going to advertise another position for a cashier in December to strengthen the staff compliment,” he said.