Friday, 28 October 2016

How To: apply for a PDP

Before we even get into the How To of things, I guess it would be good to clarify what a PDP is in the first place. If you were to google PDP you'd come up with a lot of options. The one I'm referring to, however, is a Professional Driving Permit.

A PDP (or PrDP) is required when transporting goods or people in a commercial, mini-bus, break-down or goods vehicle. In my case, I need a PDP to legally drive the school buses transporting students to and from their various activities, and I am in the middle of the painful process of having to renew.

Like many of the government processes, this feels a lot like a waste of money and time, however, I do understand why it should be done. To find out more about the legalities of everything, you're welcome to have a look here. If, however, you just want to know how to get the darn thing over the done with, read on.

Step 1: Collect the necessary forms from the traffic department. You will need a yellow form for the driver applicant to complete, and a white form for doctor's clearance. Do not write on the white form! Really. If there is even one letter printed in handwriting other than the doctor's, you will need to get it redone. Don't do it!

Step 2: Get doctor's clearance in the biggest waste of an appointment where s/he will complete said white form. Hear this: it's a questionnaire. The doctor is not actually required to examine you at all. Just make sure s/he completes the entire form, in their handwriting, and that the information in it corresponds with the other requirements below.

Step 3: Complete the yellow form (you can write this one out yourself) ensuring that all the information is your personal information. Even if you are getting a PDP for work purposes - even if they are paying for it and expecting future correspondence to come to them - put your own information on the form (you will be asked to redo the forms if this is incorrect - ask me). And wherever they ask for an address, insert your residential one (see below).

Step 4: Gather the following support documents and requirements:
  • Proof of residence: this address must be on a utility bill of some sort, and be the same address that's on the forms (even if you have a different postal address, do not use it), and it has to have your title, surname and initials on the page (I'm not kidding: "Mrs Klaasen" will not cut it!)
  • Identity Document: do not assume that your license card is ok (even if it is the traffic department)
  • Passport sized photo for the application form
  • Application fee (please note there is a hidden cost of R100 in the form of police clearance that is not stated upfront)
Step 5: Go to the traffic department and have them check that all is in order for your application. I would recommend you go early and prepare for a long wait. I was there earlier in the week. I arrived before the doors had even opened for the day, and I was number 27 in the queue.  Needless to say, when I got to the reception desk after an hour, and was told something on my form was incorrect, I was not impressed.

Step 6: Assuming you have made it through steps 1 to 5 with everything correct and without losing your mind or sense of humour, you will have your eyes tested (side note: this is the only thing that actually gets tested; it appears what you are able to see is more important than how - or if - you are able to drive) and a photo for your license card taken.

Step 7: Finally, once you've passed your eye test and submitted and paid for your application, you will be able to leave, and the traffic department will check on your criminal status on your behalf. This can take a few days or a few weeks - but once you've been cleared, you will be able to operate under a temporary PDP until your new license card is ready.

Before I go, two quick things:
  1. There is a very real possibility that you will need to repeat the wait in Step 5 when you collect your card. There is nothing friendly about this process.
  2. The validity of the license is 2 years. So in less than 24 months you'll have the joy of repeating this process.
 Image result for bus driver clipart

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