I initially began this update with a summary of my shocking experience regarding the renewal of my South African driver’s licence in a town called Krugersdorp, which is in a municipality adjacent to the Johannesburg municipality in which I reside. However, just remembering the 7 hour agony of the wait made me decide on a précis (it has become a rather long précis!) of the whole unpleasant debacle. If the characters working there had any self-respect as well as some human dignity, we would all have been in and out in record time. Many people had suggested that the Krugersdorp licencing department would be far more efficient than one closer to my home. This was not the case. Suffice to say that the disgustingly militant attitudes from every single woman working there on that day should have resulted in them being fired or at least hauled over the proverbial coals for rudeness to those of us who actually pay their salaries through our taxes. Unfortunately, this is the state of affairs in many government and municipal offices in this country these days. No-one is taking pride in their work, and the public is treated with disdain and contempt regardless of skin colour. Sad but true.
One good thing to come out of all those wasted hours was the interaction amongst many of us who were in the same situation. One woman kept on telling us that she was sending messages to Cyril Ramaphosa (our president!) and that he was on his way to sort things out! I had a Black guy called Tumi, who drives children to school, sitting near me and between his chirps and my own, we managed to laugh our way through what would otherwise have resulted in one or both of us having a stroke or a heart attack. My licence only needs to be renewed in 5 years’ time but he has to go back in two years due to his public transport licence! I feel that after a certain age we should have a renewal from now until death – except that when I saw some of the elderly people doddering around and waiting to renew their licences, it would actually make sense to be re-tested at some stage. Oh no, forget I said that. With the incompetents working at the licencing departments let’s leave things the way they are!
Well, at least my passports are valid, I am legally allowed to drive my car after waiting 8 weeks before my new licence was ready for collection and I have a valid South African identification book. Just one other comment before I bore you all to death. When a request was made to change my husband and my I.D. books over to the new card system, we were informed that because neither of us was born in South Africa (we both have South African citizenship and vote) we cannot get a card. However, we can apply for a new book if we want!! What kind of logic is this? Someone must have got the wrong end of the stick. Just another frustration in an otherwise perfect world! The sun is still shining in Jo’burg even though it is mid winter so what on earth is there to moan about!!
I would really be interested to know whether people living in other parts of the world have to suffer similar situations at government or municipal offices, or is this purely a South African scenario? When I had to apply for a new British passport 3 years ago it was completely painless and professional. The relevant documents were couriered to the U.K. and I was kept informed every step of the way as to where they were and at which stage of the process. In a very short space of time I was phoned by a local courier company to ensure that I was at home in order to accept the delivery of the new passport. Zero stress involved at all. Oh well, there is a saying that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!!
How about having the following saying displayed for all to see in government or municipal offices all over the world!
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Bye for now and see you on the Magic Roundabout!