As a legal immigrant in South Africa in order to buy a car or apply for a drivers license you first have to get a traffic register number. This number is the main identification number accepted for road transactions. First I asked a friend who had gone to get one and he told me that all he needed was his Passport with a valid permit, two passport sized photos and proof of residence and it took two weeks to come out. Another friend took his in 2010 and it took a day to come out. And asked what was needed for an accompanying spouse and he said they needed a marriage certificate as well. So we headed off to one of the Randburg Licensing department. When we got there we were told that the traffic register for foreigners were only done on Wednesdays between 7am and 10am. They then informed us that we had to go to the closest one to us which was Roodepoort. I decided to at least confirm the necessary requirements. And they confirmed.

So that afternoon I called the Roodepoort Licensing department to confirm opening times and the requirements. A week later I walked into the Roodepoort Licensing department and filled in the forms and went to the counter to submit. The officer told me I needed a letter from my employer, and an affidavit from the police stating why I wanted to apply for a traffic register. My wife could not get a traffic register under any circumstance, which I found very odd. It basically meant she could not drive or own a car so long as she is an accompanying spouse, not even learn to drive! She had to go back to her country of origin and get her license there! It was the week before Christmas so I inquired when they would open and they said on the 1st of February for foreign traffic registers! Whaat!

Fast forward to February and I arrived armed with all the necessary documents. I fill in my form and present to the officer. He takes a look at the docs and she tells me that they do not accept my Telkom bill as a proof of address. They said they needed a bank statement. Found that weird cos I used my Telkom bill as a proof of residence to open my bank account and other accounts as well. Anyway I go to the nearest branch and collected a statement. Finally I have everything they require and I am told the supervisor has to approve all the documents and he is in a meeting so we have to wait. We wait for about 10 minutes and the supervisor comes through checks the forms and then tells me to come after 1 month! So here I am waiting for my month to pass. So far ‘everyone’ is telling me that you will not get a drivers license without paying. Well I will be back to tell you how that goes because I absolutely refuse to pay!

Went back to Roodepoort Licensing department a few days after the prescribed date just to give a few days leeway. On arrival they told me that they could not issue me with a traffic register because the company that employed me was not registered with Enatis (Electronic National Administration Traffic Information System). So I said what has that got to do with me? And they insisted that if I wanted the traffic register I had to go and tell them to register with Enatis and once they have done that I can come get my traffic register that very day. Well if my employer had not registered with Enatis then who was I to go and compel them to register on my behalf, so I let it lie. I called various licensing departments in Johannesburg to confirm these requirements and it seems only Roodepoort has these stringent requirements. And it certainly doesn’t take a whole month. What really concerns me is the lack of consistency in regards to the requirements needed.

Requirements at Roodepoort

1. Certified Copy of Passport (Permit page and face page)
2. Proof of residence (Bank Statements)
3. Two black and white photos
4. Affidavit from the police stating why you need a traffic register
5. A letter from your employer stating you still working there.
6. Once submitted you have to come back after a month.
7. Enatis registration for company that employs you

3 Lessons Learnt

1. Do not procrastinate
2. If you are going to a public office always take a day to go and inquire of the exact requirements and exact office to go to. Then go do the real deal.
3. Requirements change so frequently and I have noticed especially for foreigners.

Personally I believe Xenophobia has become institutionalised!

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