Stock photo: Dumisani Dube

Transport authorities are bent on rooting out the issuing of fraudulent driver's and car licenses, Transport Minister Ben Martins said on Monday.

“We need to ensure that there isn't corruption with regard to the issuing of driver's licenses,” he said in Pretoria.

“Unfortunately, the horrors, the facts, of fraudulent licenses are to be seen on our roads.”

This was a problem that should be tackled together by the provinces and the national government. Fraudulent licenses would remain a problem for some time, but the department was working on it.

“It's not an issue that we can say we will eliminate in six months, but it's an issue that we have to give the requisite attention.”

His department was also looking into Putco bus operations. The department noted reports that a number of the buses had fraudulent roadworthy licenses.

“It is the responsibility of our department to ensure that we regularly pay visits to those authorities that issue licenses. So that we are sure that the licenses issued are valid licenses... That's an on-going challenge that you will not be able to solve overnight.”

On June 25, a driver lost control of a Putco bus near Meyerton. It drove off a bridge, killing 20 people and injuring 55.

Martins said it was an area of “grave concern” for the transport department, but it was ready to deal with it.

“It has a great impact on our people... It's an aspect of our work that we take very seriously.”

Martins told the Southern African Transport Conference that a reliable and efficient transport system was essential to the functioning of society.

“It influences the mobility of people. In some, it influences the quality of life.”

He said the transport sector should contribute to socio-economic development and investment in infrastructure should leave behind more than power stations, railway lines, dams, and roads.

“It must in necessity lead to heightened industrialisation in order to generate skills and boost job creation.”

Martins said state-owned companies and entities were contributing to infrastructure development.

“Transnet and Sanral have allocated R300 billion and R133 billion, respectively, over the next seven years for infrastructure development.”

The Passenger Rail Agency of SA would continue to refurbish and upgrade ageing rail stock and networks, he said.

Annual Transport Conference company chairman Kenny Kistan said solving the problems facing the transport sector was crucial to economic prosperity and improved quality of life.

“Good transport facilities and enhanced mobility are key ingredients in ensuring equal distribution of opportunities,” Kistan said.

After the conference a set of recommendations and findings would be put together and presented to the transport department. – Sapa