The Roodepoort licensing department has ground to a halt because it has run out of ink cartridges.
This means people cannot register new vehicles or renew vehicle licences, and hundreds of infuriated motorists are being turned away every day.
A woman, who asked not to be named, said she had been trying since last Wednesday to register a car.
"It is unbelievable that an organisation such as the huge Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, in a big city such as Johannesburg, does not have cartridges or toners to print official documents," she said. "If I don't get my car registered within a few days I am going to be forced to go and get a new roadworthy certificate, which costs time and money."
Another motorist said there was chaos, with people being turned away.
"I've been turned away four times," he said. "I am desperate as I have to register a new car. The staff inside are embarrassed but they say it is beyond their control."
Police department director Gerrie Gerneke said it was beyond their control as the City of Johannesburg had not renewed its contract with the company that supplied the ink and toner cartridges.
"To add to the problem, the Langlaagte testing station is being refurbished so people who would normally go there are now also going to Roodepoort."
Gerneke said staff would borrow cartridges from the Florida station, so things should be back to normal on Tuesday.