Following on from Buying a Car in SA: Part One I bring you part two in the ordeal (there is no better word to describe this experience).
As we are not South African citizens we must have a Traffic Register Number in order to register the car in our names or even take delivery of the car. So we found a list of all of the licensing departments in Joburg. On their website it did not say that you had to go to one in particular, so we chose to go to the one that offered the most services, in Randburg, and Rob set off to arrive at 7.30 which is when they open.
You need to have your lease agreement, passport, passport pictures and international driving license. Rob hadn’t had his pictures done in advance, but there were people outside touting to take pics. As soon as Rob got out of the car a guy whistled at him and beckoned him over. Rob followed him into the middle of a market, where there was a tent set up and inside they take your photo. They used a normal digital camera, and instead of zooming in with the camera itself, he just walked forward until he was close enough for Rob’s face to fill the screen! Hilarious. He printed the photo’s on the spot.
Rob then went into the licensing office, which was modern, airy and although busy looked like it was efficiently run. He approached the main desk and asked for the form, only to be told that as we live in Melville we had to go to the Langlaagte office. Tres annoying. It said this nowhere on the website. We had not heard of this area before and they gave Rob some very vague directions. Back into the car, and then 10 minutes spent trying to find it on the map. It took 45 minutes to get there in rush hour traffic.
As soon as Rob drove through the gates he could tell that the Langlaagte office is a different kettle of fish from the Randburg office. Langlaagte was a concrete pandemonium that Rob likened to a prison. He says that he lost the will to live immediately. It took two people to point him to the right place, and once he arrived there were four chaotic queues in the room, but no one that worked there around to assist. Rob went round asking people which queue to join and eventually found the right one. The Randburg office had given him the application form so he spent some time filling that out, and after an hour he reached the front, where he was sent to another room and another queue.
There was a man interrogating people to ask people what they wanted and sending some people to other rooms as they were apparently in the wrong queue. Rob told him that he wanted a traffic register number and the guy looked through all of his documents only to tell him that they were no good. The application form did not apply to that office, and you need copies of your documents rather than the originals. Of course no one had told him this previously.
Rob was then sent out of the building, over the car park to a shack where you could buy sweets, drinks and photocopies. There was a long line of people that looked as depressed as Rob as they had also been queuing for hours and been sent out of the building. Ten minutes later Rob got to the front of the queue and asked for copies (which were extortionately priced).
Rob went back into the building, back to the room of four queues, back into the other room and joined the queue once again. 45 minutes later it is now Rob’s turn to be seen. Rob goes to the guy that had sent him away to make copies, who spent about one minute looking through the documents and then stamped a small piece of paper and told Rob to come back ten days later to see if he had been successful. Rob was quite furious, but nothing that could be done but wait to see if we were successful. We were not aware that you could be unsuccessful with your application. Oh well.
Ten days pass and Rob returns nervously to see if this is all a waste of time. An hour and a half of various queues later and Rob leaves the building with the precious Traffic Register Number. Result. I’m so glad that I didn’t go with him!
Straight to the garages to arrange delivery of our cars. The first one was no problem as we bought it for cash. We bought from Kilokor Motors and from the most awesome dude, Brian. He even put a big bow on the car and there was a bottle of bubbles inside for us! Cute!
The second car was not as straight forward as we bought it on finance, but the dealership were great and looked after everything for us. We bought from GWM Edenvale and found an excellent deal – possibly because it was not in the Northern suburbs where everything seemed to be so expensive. It was definitely worth the drive for the price that we paid. Of course, no one in the last month has told us that you must have insurance to drive away a car bought on finance, and obviously on a Saturday afternoon all of the insurers are closed. Doh!
We finally have our two new (second-hand) cars in our garages. I’ve been zooming around Joburg buying all kinds of things (poor Rob). It’s not as nerve-racking driving here as I thought, as long as you keep your eyes peeled at all times. There is no driving on auto pilot in this place.