“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that has recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Kurt Solomon.

Driver’s license renewal . . . pfft, easy . . . said no one, ever!

I have some good news though folks, while it is not going to bring world peace, it is pretty handy and I tested it out!

“The Department of Transport and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) launched the NaTIS Online Booking Services in Centurion on Thursday (30 August).”  – businesstech.co.za

The new online system is not only for renewing your drivers license, but also for booking your learners and drivers tests and applying for temporary licenses.

It’s great!!

Your literally book at online.natis.gov.za, pick a testing station, date and time that suits you. Nifty!

They send you confirmation of the booking along with all the documents and things you need to take with you on the day.

With my previous drivers license renewals having taken a lot longer than expect, I arrived 30 minutes half prior to my allocated time slot that I had selected when making the booking. Unfortunately my proactive approach based on previous negative experiences back fired slightly… on arrival I learnt that you will only be assisted during your time slot that you booked online.

I thought, let me test this system . . . and so I identified a frustrated civilian in the “normal” queue to my spot in the “booking” queue, I felt like a first class passenger at the airport but really wanted to see which would go faster.

From the moment they called “Mr Solomon”, to me getting my finger prints and photo done electronically to  sitting in a queue (the payment queue) to getting my temporary licence and paying, it was all of 18 minutes. I was proper impressed. Disclaimer here: If you have outstanding traffic fines, It is going to cost you R228 for the drivers licence renewal, R60 if you want a temporary driver’s license (my existing drivers license card was expiring) and whatever your outstanding fines are. YOU CANNOT RENEW YOUR DRIVERS WITHOUT PAYING OUTSTANDING FINES.

While walking out, I again scouted where my “normal civilian” was standing, and he had moved maybe 4 places, with about 44 to go. I felt sad and depressed for him and the rest of them that were standing in the cattle class queue. 

My top tips to use or lose:

  1. Take a pen with you, you still need to fill in that green form!
  2. You do not need 2 driver’s license photos anymore, (they do this electronically at the selected testing stations that take online bookings) unless you need a temporary license, in that case you only need 1 photo. I feel bad for the small businesses and entrepreneurs outside the stations.  
  3. Take R228 cash with you if you are renewing your drivers. I would suggest taking more if you have outstanding fines and be sure to double check on your booking confirmation you receive, this may change.
  4. They do eye tests there. (but you can still take an optometrist certificate with)
  5. Don’t try get their earlier than your scheduled booking time thinking you going to be able to get everything sorted because the bookings queue is short – I  was there at 07:30, my booking for between 08:15 – 09:00
  6. With my most intense Lebanese negotiating skills, they did not care that I was early and they called all those who booked the time slot before me (and even waited 10 minutes if the person was not there).
  7. Also, don’t forget some patience, systems may be down, and in that case, take a breath, catch up on a few emails and smile, others were waiting in. line for hours before hearing the news that the systems are down!

I hope this helps you the next time you need to renew your drivers license, or take your niece, nephew, child or friend to the licensing department.