Gauteng youth to benefit from free learner’s licence tests

Thursday, October 12, 2023

At least 40 000 youth in Gauteng are expected to benefit from the Gauteng Provincial Government’s “Wrong Side of the Road” campaign aimed at providing an opportunity to disadvantaged youth to get free learner’s licences.

“The Gauteng Provincial Government, in partnership with Diageo South Africa, presents an exciting opportunity for young people. Empowering Gauteng’s youth with free learner’s licences serves as a dual-purpose endeavour.

“It is the first phase towards obtaining a driver’s licence, which enhances employability. Additionally, this initiative actively promotes responsible driving during the learning stage, hopefully improving road safety, particularly against drinking and driving,” said Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi.

The provincial government explained that the initiative is in line with efforts to “bridge the unemployment gap and foster responsible attitudes towards alcohol use”.

This initiative is a step further to create a prosperous and safer Gauteng. According to recent statistics from Stats SA, the youth unemployment rate in South Africa remains alarmingly high, at 46.5% in the first quarter of 2023.

Additionally, alcohol misuse continues to be a significant contributor to road accidents through drinking and driving/walking.

“In response to these pressing challenges, Diageo South Africa has joined forces with the Office of the Premier of Gauteng, the Department of Roads and Transport, and the Department of Economic Development to address these issues holistically and bring about positive change.

“Themed ‘Wrong Side of the Road’, the campaign aims to assist youth with administrative fees for securing learner’s licences. To be considered, the participants need to be between the ages of 17 and 34 years and should reside in TISH (townships, informal settlements and hostels) in Gauteng,” the province said.

The province had targeted some 40 000 youth when the initiative was announced in August. However, more than 130 000 responses were received.

“The recruitment phase has concluded, with an overwhelming response from applicants. Those who have successfully progressed will receive the next steps of their journey via SMS and WhatsApp, which include watching a video and completing a short quiz related to understanding the effects of alcohol, and the shame and stigma associated with drunk driving.

“All steps must be completed to be eligible to receive your free learner’s licence booking. This includes your readiness to take the test and achieving an 80% pass rate using the K53 app. All entries will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Recognising that some applicants may face data limitations, the initiative encourages individuals to visit their local libraries, where free Wi-Fi access is available for the application process. Please note that only those names on the current recruitment list can continue the journey, and no further registrations will be accepted,” the province said.

Some 10 000 of the 40 000 learner’s licence opportunities will be reserved for motorbike licences, in support of the province’s Project Last-Mile.

“The Last-Mile project aims to license, train, mentor and connect young people to job opportunities. Those interested will receive training and assistance, including access to motorbikes (options include rent-to-own, rental or outright purchase) and contracts with industry-leading partners,” the provincial government said. –