Regan Hope, Grassy Park
I am writing to you on behalf of Grassy Park and Surrounds Scholar Association as we celebrate our seventh anniversary.
Over the past seven years, we have faced numerous challenges, but our unwavering commitment to serving our communities remains steadfast.
One of the challenges is the daily impoundment of vehicles. When a vehicle is impounded, pupils are left stranded, and parents understandably worry because they are often at work and unable to assist.
The prevalence of impoundments has far-reaching consequences for society as a whole. Backlogs on our professional driving permit, when we do our renewals, are another challenge.
As self-employed individuals, we strive to provide the best possible services despite these obstacles. However, many of us operate with microbuses that do not meet the criteria for obtaining necessary permits due to their year model. We are engaging with various stakeholders to find a solution to this pressing challenge.
At Grassy Park and Surrounds Scholar Association, we firmly believe in encouraging operators to become compliant. However, due to the financial limitations we face, achieving compliance has proven to be incredibly difficult for us, as we are not operating a highly lucrative business.
• City traffic service spokesman Kevin Jacobs responds
Our traffic officers are duty-bound to enforce the law without fear or favour, particularly as we also receive many requests and/or complaints from the public. No one category of transport operator can be exempted.
Since October 2022, our officers have conducted nine operations in the greater Grassy Park area, focusing on scholar transport. During these operations, a total of 2 769 fines were issued for various transgressions, and 34 vehicles impounded in terms of national legislation, which allows for the impoundment of a public transport vehicle where the driver does not have an operating licence or is operating in violation of that licence.
In terms of professional driving permit renewals/applications, this process is a national one that the City has no control over. These renewals require a police clearance certificate, as well as the printing of a new driving licence card – processes that are centralised through a national entity known as the Driving Licence Card Account.
It is important to note that a professional driving permit is valid for a further four months after expiry, if the renewal application was made on or before the date of expiry of the current one.
Operators are therefore allowed to operate with the expired permit, proof of renewal (receipt), and their operating licence.