The continuous closure of a number of licensing offices due to COVID-19 in the Free State has left motorists frustrated. The Free State Police, Roads and Transport Department says they had to abide by COVID-19 lockdown regulations at their centres to curb infections among staff and the public.
Testing centres in the Free State province have been adversely affected by the coronavirus. They include centres in Thabo Mofutsanyane, Lejweleputswa and Fezile Dabi Districts.
Frustrations are at an all-time high as motorists are unable to access services. They are complaining about the costs of having to travel to other towns to get services.
“It is frustrating because when you come here you have to wake up early in the morning and then you get here they cut lines short. They tell other people to return back home and it’s costing us money on a daily basis because you have to go back and forth all the time,” says a disgruntled motorist.
Another motorist says; “It is frustrating because you have to go to another town to do the registrations, even licences and we don’t have transport.”
Free State Police, Roads and Transport spokesperson Hilary Mophethe says more than a hundred of their staff were infected with the coronavirus. Three staff members succumbed to the pandemic.
“We have also lost three lives to COVID-19 and we were worried about employees with comorbidities, some of our employees still go to work and get infected as well and have to quarantine for 10 days which is bedevilling service delivery itself. ”
Mophethe says a lack of water is one of the major challenges at their centres. She says they had to reduce staff capacity at these centres.
” Closing and opening of stations can be very frustrating to clients and also limited amounts of people that we can help per day. Because we cannot tell people not to come but unfortunately the capacity that we are working with is 50% and the demands of services from our clients, it’s a challenge with less staff and more people demanding services. ”
The department has pleaded with the public to be patient while attempting to access their services.