One good TRN deserves another

In order to purchase a car in South Africa, one must apply for a Traffic Register Number.  Today, at last, I was able to acquire mine!  “But hold on,” you say, “didn’t you already buy a car?”  That’s right, I bought a car the week of Christmas.  I have been driving around with temporary tags.  They expire on January 10th.  I applied for the TRN on December 9th, but I had received no update for how matters had proceeded (the application triggers a background search, so it’s not a sure-fire outcome).

My day started with a call from Cathrine at the Honda dealership.  She explained that we really couldn’t wait anymore for the TRN to show up and that they’d need a couple days after I had my TRN number to file for and receive the registration plates.  I had placed a call to the Bellville Traffic Department, but I had gotten a busy signal (normally I hear several rings and then the call fails).  She recommended a number for services city-wide, and I spoke to a courteous gentleman there.  He admitted he could find no record of my application for the TRN.  There was no other option: I needed to visit the Traffic Department in person.

I drove over there.  As is common in South Africa, the parking lot had several parking attendants to wave in the direction of available spaces.  I entered the building and joined the line of fifteen people at the Inquiries window (the same one where I had applied for the TRN on December 9th).  After about forty minutes, I was waved up to the window, where the clerk was the same person I had worked with during my prior visit!  Our discussion was a little hard to follow, since a gentleman at the next window was slowly raising his voice to a yell in Afrikaans about a parking ticket for his motorbike that was more expensive than the vehicle (which apparently would no longer start).  My clerk indicated that he had good news, but I needed to stand aside for a few minutes until the other clerk was free.

Once the gentleman had issued his final proclamations (I gather they were obscene, by the response of the security officer), I moved to the other window.  The clerk handed me my TRN.  I explained that I now had proof of my permanent address, and she advised me to take it up with the Durbanville office since I was moving closer to them.  I took the TRN in hand and drove to the Honda dealership.  Cathrine and I looked over the application for the registration plates, and after I botched one she just pointed to where I needed to sign.  This afternoon, we realized that I also needed to file a change of address form with the Traffic Department since my TRN was for my temporary address rather than my permanent one.

In two days, I should have my permanent registration plates.  With those in hand, I can file for parking privileges on campus (much less expensive than at American medical schools).  Getting my car sorted out is nearly complete!

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One thought on “One good TRN deserves another

  1. Greg Wernke

    The Chinese may have invented Bureaucracy, but the British colonial service perfected it.

    Good luck David my friend I will miss not having you in the same city – Greg

    Like

    Reply

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