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Durban - A social worker on Tuesday told a court that, after failing her driving test at the Mandeni testing station, she paid R6 000 to a driving school instructor and received her driving licence later that day.
Eleven former employees of the Mandeni Driving Licence Testing Centre (DLTC) - eight traffic officers and three clerks - with nine driving school instructors, face a total 207 racketeering, corruption and fraud charges in the Eshowe Regional Court.
The State charges that the entire staff complement at the DLTC colluded to issue scores of illegal licences in 2009 and 2010.
It alleges that in some cases officers colluded with driving school owners and instructors.
The State charges that driving licence applicants were not examined or tested; test sheets were fraudulently completed, and licences were issued to people who were not competent to drive a vehicle.
On Tuesday social worker Princess Ngcoya, 29, told the Eshowe Regional Court she had already failed the test once at the Rossburgh testing centre in Durban, and her learner’s licence was about to expire.
“I had to get an earlier date (to do the driving test),” she said.
In December 2009, a month before the licence was to expire, she was told by a colleague that his uncle, who owned a driving school in Mandeni, could help her. She was charged R900 to “get the earlier date” (to do the test).
She went to the Mandeni testing centre in December 2009, accompanied by the driving school instructor, Fayo Mthethwa, her colleague (named only as Zama) and Zama’s mother.
She took the test, overseen by the by examiner (and accused number three) Bongumusa Adolphus Mchunu, 44.
During the examination she knocked over a pole and was told that she had failed the test.
She went to Mthethwa to tell him she had failed, and he said “don’t worry”. According to her, she was told she could get a licence if she paid R6 000. She had only R4 000 on her, and had to borrow the other R2 000 from Zama.
She could not remember who had told her R6 000 would buy her a licence but she gave the money to Mthethwa.
Under cross-examination by Mchunu’s defence attorney, T S Manzini, Ngcoya admitted she signed a form even though the contents were false.
And Mchunu’s defence attorney, Ntokozo Mpungose, said the driving school instructor denied he had been at the testing centre on that day in December.
Some confusion followed when he mentioned that Zama would be testifying that he had not lent her money. Prosecutor K Shazi interjected to say she was under the impression Zama was a State witness.
The prosecutor on Tuesday issued a warrant of arrest for one of the accused, a traffic officer, on the grounds that he had broken his bail conditions.
All 20 accused are on bail ranging from R3 000 to R5 000.
All have pleaded not guilty.
Fayo Mthethwa is being represented by T S Manzini.
Bongumusa Adolphus Mchunu’s defence lawyer is Ntokozo Mpungose.
In fact, the court has to date not heard evidence on how it came about that Ngcoya obtained the licence, and which of the 20 accused in the case was involved in issuing the fraudulent licence.
IOL editied the text of the story to reflec this.