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Corruption unit in driving test probe

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Interviews are being held and reams of evidence, including video footage, are being collated. Picture by Shayne Robinson

Early this year we published an exposé of just how infested certain Joburg driver’s licence test facilities are with corrupt officials, specifically in the area of Code 10 licences for medium-duty trucks.

Since then, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has informed us of of a new National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit that has been set up to combat the problem.

In March, an anonymous source told us how it was impossible to book a Code 10 learner’s licence test legitimately, but also to book and pass the practical exam without paying bribes.

For over a year our source tried in vain to do things by the book, but eventually gave in to the crooked system and spent over R6 000 in total (including bribes) to get the job done.

ANTI-CORRUPTION HOTLINE

RTMC spokesman Ashref Ismail urges the public to not go this route, however tempting the prospect may be, advising them instead to secure proof of dirty dealings and to report such activities at a police station. They can also phone an anti-corruption hotline at 086 140 0800 or e-mail specific details to Ashrefi@rtmc.co.za.

Established in July, the new anti-corruption unit is working with SAPS Crime Intelligence, the Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Gauteng Provincial Department of Community Safety to deal with corruption.

The team is focusing not just on driving licence centres but on vehicle testing stations, roadside traffic checkpoints, weighbridges and taxi permit boards.

Ismail said specific driver’s licence testing centres had been singled out as problematic, but he was unwilling to name them as enforcement agencies were undertaking sensitive surveillance and monitoring.

Staff at such stations, and the driving schools that work in cahoots with them, are being investigated.

Interviews are being held and reams of evidence, including video footage, are being collated.

Howard Dembovsky, of Justice Project South Africa, shares the RTMC’s belief that people willing to participate in underhanded bookings and tests are the root of the problem.

“People need to take these matters very seriously and understand that they would not happen if there were no willing participants,” says Dembovsky.

“But since there is no shortage of willing criminals – both from the perspective of soliciting bribes and paying them, we need to rely on the few honest people that are left to report these crimes and not buy into the Hollywood gangster hype that makes them believe that they will somehow be victimised if they do report such corrupt activities.” - Star Motoring

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