If you are a Gauteng resident who wants to renew their driver’s licence, you are encouraged to use the Natis online booking system.
There’s just one problem with the system – it does not work, as you can never make a booking.
Complaints about the online platform are not new, and the problem is so severe that the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) said in March it was facing strike action from driving schools in the province as a result.
The National Driving School Association of South Africa told 702 that it wants the online system scrapped, as it has “failed to work”.
The RTMC added that it has received “numerous enquiries from concerned members of the public” who are unable to book a slot to renew their driver’s licence.
Using the online system
South Africa’s national government has stated that all Gauteng residents should apply online if they need to renew their driver’s licence.
You are supposed to use the online system to book a slot at a local driving licence testing centre, enter your personal details, and visit the chosen centre for an eye test – or with the results of a recent eye test – to renew your licence.
TopAuto tested the Natis online booking system over several days and found the following:
- Accessing the website and entering personal details works perfectly.
- Booking a slot to renew your licence is essentially impossible, as slots are never available.
- Feedback from TopAuto readers indicates they have had the same experience.
Once we accessed the Natis website and selected “Book now for Driving Licence Card Renewal”, we were taken to a page which required us to fill in our personal details.
This included a surname, ID number, and cellphone number.
After submitting these details, we were taken to a page which had a list of driving licence testing centres in the province.
There are over 40 licence centres on the list, and every single one showed “0” slots available for booking.
Clicking on a licence centre takes you to a calendar menu to select a date – but every date on the calendar is blanked out and nothing can be chosen.
We repeated this process several times, and the only glimmer of success we had was on a day which showed that the Carletonville licence centre had 190 slots available.
Carletonville – which is 92km south-west of Johannesburg – was the only centre with availabilities.
When we checked the following day, all centres – including Carletonville – were back to “0” slots available.
The RTMC has stated it is working to “stabilise the platform” and ensure “all hurdles are cleared to create a seamless booking experience”.
“The online system has had a positive impact in the fight against COVID-19 as it minimises crowding at DLTCs, particularly in Gauteng where there is still a high number of cases,” it said in March.
This is an opinion piece based on real-world tests.