Portfolio Committee On Transport
NPTR is killing tourism jobs
1 February 2020 8:31 p.m.
Dear Portfolio Committee On Transport,

I would like to ask you to intervene by looking at how NPTR works, what it has achieved so far since its inception and find out why it takes too long to issue vehicle permits for tourism.

Before NPTR came into being I had 4 vehicles with operating permits that had been issued by Provincial Authority in Cape Town. I used these vehicles for conducting tours as I am a tour operator and a tour guide based in Cape Town. I had my first tour permit in 2010 in anticipation for the Fifa World Cup visitors. Later on I increased my fleet to 4 vehicles. The application process was smooth and easy because the Traffic authority understood the importance of tourism. These four cars allowed four people including myself to earn an income and improve on our lives. When these permits expired I was required to renew them, this time by submitting all supporting documents and forms to NPTR office in Pretoria.

The very first problem I encountered in 2017 when I tried to apply the permits from NPTR was the fact that the NPTR email was not capable for accepting (receiving) all the forms and supporting documents needed to submit the applications. Up to now, this email cannot cope with the forms. This means all the forms must be couried to Pretoria or the applicant must physically go to Pretoria to submit hard copies there. You can understand the cost involved. The second problem is that there is hardly anybody at NPTR office to answer the calls. If there are people I presume they let the phone ring and nobody picks it up to respond to the caller. Even if one submit the application it is difficult to call and speak to someone to find out if the application has been received and how far is it being processed.

Coming back to my four permits before the NPTR came into being, I am now remained with only one permit, that had a longer validity period and this was because I was able to send someone to Pretoria office to physically renew it there. It will also soon expire and the way things look my transport business will cease to exist. All other permits have not been renewed and they expired while I was trying to renew them with NPTR.

When I tried to apply for the new ones it has so far been impossible to get them. The process is cumbersome and the issuing of them takes too long or they are never issued. You pay for application and money is not refunded when nothing comes out of it. There so many problems and inefficiencies at this regulator contrary to the Cross-border permit office for example, who are very efficient and quick.

To elaborate more on my trouble since 2017, my latest application dates back in July 2019. As I said I couldn't use their email because it cannot handle all forms. I sent the application via post and I was this time notified via email that it was received. I have been calling many times to find out about the progress of the said application but I can count only a few times that I have maged to speak to someone. The staff always tell you that their system to check on the progress of the application is very slow. This has confirmed to me that they use a poor It system. Besides, staff don't respond to emails as one wishes to know the progress of application.

This permit in question submitted in July 2019 has been gazetted in October 2019 and I was expecting it in November to use my vehicle for the high season. It has not been issued until today February, 2020. If it is ever issued within next six months its 2 years validity will be calculated from the time it was gazetted and not the actual time it starts to be operational I have lost work because the car that was supposed to have this permit cannot transport paying tourists. Companies that normally hire me are reluctant to use my services.

I am not the only one but so many tour operators and guides have been closing shops or opting to operate illegally because of the red tape at this institutions and poor customer service. The consequence is that many jobs have been on the line. Please look at this issue.