Free driver’s licence training centre opens

AFTER years of idling along trying to find a marketing job, a 26-year-old Sunshine Coast man is revved up to realise his dreams thanks to the opening of a free driver’s licence training centre in Port Alfred yesterday.

Thembelani Gwebani – who has a college marketing diploma – said he had spent years applying for jobs countrywide but remained unemployed because he did not have a driver’s licence.


REVVED UP: unemployed Thembelani Gwebani learns to drive on a R100000 simulator at the opening of the Dr Isaac Mabindisa Youth Empowerment Centre in Port Alfred yesterday Picture: DAVID MACGREGOR

“I think I only need one month of training and then I will have my licence,” he said.

Sitting behind the wheel of a R100000 driving simulator, Gwebani said although he was scared of turning the key and driving the computer car on a TV screen road he was excited he would soon have a licence.

The free driving school is a collaboration between Stenden South Africa – an international hospitality university with campuses in Port Alfred, Holland, Indonesia, Thailand and Qatar – the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) and Ndlambe Municipality.

Although the newly-opened Dr Isaac Mabindisa Youth Empowerment Centre already boasts four brand new simulators, CDC driver training manager Alf Settle yesterday promised Nemato township residents at the official opening he would deliver another one next week.

He said the CDC had opened 14 driver simulator centres across the Eastern Cape since 2012 and more than 750 people had received free licences.

The CDC driver training programme is offered at Walter Sisulu University, FET colleges such as Ikhala in Queenstown, Buffalo City in East London and Ingwe College (with campuses in Mount Frere, Lusikisiki, Bizana, Maluti and Mount Fletcher) and the University of Fort Hare.

Part of the CDC’s social development programme, the simulators are said to be 70% cheaper for driver training than proper driving schools.

Settle played down fears the simulators were more of a TV game than the real deal, saying pilots around the world were also trained on similar machines.

Drivers wear headphones, turn a key, put the “car” in first gear and take to the roads in all weather conditions – getting told about their faults along the way, including when to change gears, road speeds and the consequences of having a fender bender.

Named after well-known Port Alfred academic Dr Isaac Mabindisa, who died last year, the simulators are aimed at empowering poor, unemployed school leavers aged between 18 and 35 as well as apartheid-era war veterans and domestic workers.

After decades in exile, Mabindisa returned home and played a key role in setting up Stenden South Africa in Port Alfred.

Stenden South Africa general manager Dr Wouter Hensens said the driver simulation programme formed part of a larger community empowerment initiative they had set up in towns across Ndlambe.

He said having no driver’s licence was “a core barrier” for unemployed people looking for jobs.

He predicted the centre would run 24 hours a day – using trainers employed by the university – and it would result in a dramatic increase in people doing driver’s licence tests. —

22 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. It would be nice if schools offered basic road rules regarding pedestrians like they used to. I find it increasingly annoying to see scholars and grown ups in particular that have absolutely no idea how a robot works.

  2. my comment is that would i also qualify to apply for a free drivers licence? if ever i qualify can you please email me the full info

  3. This is a very good and beautiful way of starting your life by having a drivers licence,I am in desperate of having one too because I’ve been trying to apply for Matriculants job opportunities but they all need a person who is has a driver’s licence which I don’t have and my problem is the unavailability of funds to further my leaners and able to reach for a driver’s licence

  4. i would like to apply for free drivers licence if i qualify please email me terms and condition

  5. I appreciate what has has been done by Dr Mabindisa offering driving stimulator for pre driving lessons.

    I so wish there will be a Centre for working people who can’t make means for starting at driving schools and can be charged a fair fee.

  6. It is an exact solution to S A high unemployment rates. Is it posdible to have this service in the Free State?

  7. I have My matric certificate but finding a lob is not easy without a drivers do i get This Free licence training in Matjhabeng local Municipality?

  8. I have matric and drivers licence I have been driving for 3years and I am willing to join this program of teaching students to get their licences, I am in free state Paul Roux. ..0714280768

  9. I’m blessed on what you are doing opening great programmes for people like us who can’t afford ,talk to me I would love to be one of those whom you have given this opportunity of living on what they have been longing for .

  10. I am from Durban and I have drivers licence which I got with the money I charge people by giving learners lessons, I am willing to enroll this program to my community,and surrounding arreas to uplift the commynity the challenge is the resources to teach people.I can coordinate this project and give people young and old disadvantage people to equipt them with drivers licence and give them a fair chance to be employeed to feed their loved ones with dignity

  11. Good day

    I am a 22 years old girl,unemployed and looking for a free driving lessons,i have a learners licence and i really need a drivers licence becouse most of the vacancies seek drivers licence,please i really need help.

  12. I did baa,computer, call center.i need learns

  13. i would like to apply for license

  14. Hi I would like to apply for the free drivers course please give more information or the contact details of the program it is my wish to start in January. Thank you

  15. I would like to apply for free license course pls forward me details on how to apply

  16. Hey!My name is Ntaoleng Motaung,im 23years old.I have public management N4-N6 certificates but im still waiting for my diploma.I also have learners licence which expires november 2016 so i will like to be helped with driving lessons so that i can have licence because many posts seek drivers licence.Please help me.

  17. Am young 21yrs old l now how to drive because l spended 7yrs driving a code 10 truck but the problem is my parents don’t have money for me to be able to go to driving school so l really need help and l just completed my matrix my contact number are 0740798367

  18. Hey…iam Ntombifuthi 24 Yrs ,ihave learners licence but now iCan’t afford to Do Training of licence.please Help Me.

  19. good day

    I trust that this e-mail finds you in excellent health

    I would like apply for an opportunity whereby I would be Trained for a Valid South African Driver’s License.

    Your urgent response would be highly appreciated.

    Thank you

    Kind regards
    Yolani Donkiri.

  20. hi my name is mhla mbe kho mo im unemployed please help me i have a learners driver so i cant afford driving school

  21. i will also like to have a given opportunity to have one for my self .

  22. and i have learners aleardy so i will like to complete it …

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