City of Tshwane axes licence cheat

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IOL mot pic dec19 Olivia Bambo

Masi Losi

Olivia Bambo covers her face as as she and a learners licence candidate are escorted by metro police after she was caught writing a learners licence on behalf of the candidate. Picture: Alex Mitchley

In an effort to “weed out criminality in its midst”, the City of Tshwane’s metro police have fired an official from the Akasia vehicle licensing department after she wrote a learner’s licence test on behalf of a candidate in August.

After working at the licensing department for more than 10 years, Maria Bambo, 41, a mother of three from Nina Park, north of the city, was dismissed by the metro police on November 15.

She was found guilty of “gross dishonesty and a severe lack of integrity”.

Bambo was caught by the head of the licensing department after taking a computerised test for a 25-year-old candidate from Winterveld who paid her.

The man never took the test but arranged with Bambo to take the test in his name. She passed.

Metro police spokesman Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said examiners completed the test quickly, often in as little as six minutes, because they knew the answers.

It normally took candidates about an hour to complete the 64 questions. The scores were also very high, or even perfect, when officials took the test, he said.

The going rate for officials to take the test on behalf of a candidate is said to be R1800. It costs R108 to write the test legitimately, plus an additional R60 to issue the certificate if you pass.

SPOT CHECK

The head of the centre, who testified against Bambo at her internal disciplinary hearing, said he did a spot check of the licensing test facilities at 8am on August 2.

After scrutinising every candidate in the room, he noticed a man coming to collect his learner’s licence from the cashier’s cubicle Bambo operated. The man paid R60 for his learner’s licence even though he had not written the test.

The head was certain he had not seen the man taking the test and confronted Bambo. She tried to convince him that the man had taken the test, but the head demanded the transaction be stopped.

The candidate and Bambo were arrested by the Tshwane metro police.

After first denying the charges, the man admitted having paid Bambo to write the test.

The head of department said the examiners were supposed to check that those arriving for the test were indeed the candidates scheduled for the test by verifying their names, identity numbers and photograph on their IDs.

Measures had been put in place to catch examiners and candidates involved in corrupt activities.

“This is a battle we must win,” Mahamba said.

The City of Tshwane has arrested and dismissed scores of employees for misconduct and criminal activities this year.

It has vowed to intensify its clampdown on corrupt employees. - Pretoria News


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