The Mpumalanga Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison has embarked on a process of reversing all fraudulently acquired and issued licence disks, after it was unearthed that the province suffered “a huge loss”.
Moeti Mmusi, spokesperson for the provincial department said the losses were incurred between October 6 and 9 through corrupt and fraudulent activities.
“This comes after the revenue management section of the department uncovered information that between October 6 and 9, the department has suffered a huge loss of over R35 million in KwaMhlanga and Siyabuswa licensing stations as a result of corrupt syndicates who fraudulently renewed licence disks and illegally written (off) penalty fees,” he said.
The revenue management section could not reconcile the licence discs issued with the actual revenue which flowed into the coffers of government.
“An investigation was done which revealed that the fraudulent activity happened at the two stations,” said Moeti.
“The department has now launched a programme to recover the loss. All fraudulent set aside and wrong cancelled penalties will be reinstated for fleet owners,” he said.
“It means the money that the department lost in unduly issued licence disks will be steadily recovered. Furthermore, an admin mark will be placed on such licence discs and this will force owners to come forward.”
The provincial department said once the fraudulently issued discs have been cancelled, the vehicle owners will be forced to come forward and renew such discs again.
“They will be compelled to pay all outstanding penalties, which are accumulating on an ongoing basis,” said Mmusi.
On the other hand, the provincial department said it is awaiting for the Road Traffic Management Corporation to install biometric systems for all officials in the licensing department.
“This means that no one will be able to log in with the details of another. They will be using their fingerprints to access the system once the system has been installed,” said Mmusi.
The provincial department said it will continue to work with all stakeholders and law enforcement agencies to root out fraud and corruption in the licensing environment.
“The modus operandi is that some officials may have been paid in order to compromise their login details to syndicates. The investigation is ongoing to determine exactly what happened. Those who are found in the wrong will have to face the full consequences of their action,” said Mmusi.
He highlighted that since 2020, about 20 officials have been arrested and these officials' cases are currently undergoing court processes relating to fraud and corruption.
Three fleet company officials were also arrested this year in connection with the malfeasance in licensing.
Meanwhile, Mpumalanga MEC for Community Safety, Security and Liaison, Vusi Shongwe has warned motorists and truck owners owing license fees to refrain from colluding with syndicates and corrupt officials in order to evade paying in full for their licence discs and/or outstanding fines and penalties.
Shongwe added that although his department is trying to recover the funds, the people involved must be arrested.
He also called on members of the community to report corruption through the anti-corruption hotline, which is: 080-070-1701.