Stock photo: Dumisani Dube
Stock photo: Dumisani Dube

Licence scam exposed

By CANDICE BAILEY AND DUMISANI DUBE Time of article published Oct 18, 2011

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Fake learner’s and driving licences are being sold across Joburg for anything between R800 and R4 500 – and some take as little as three minutes to print out.

A Star investigation found that at four of the five City of Joburg testing centres, fake licences were available for those willing to pay.

Mostly, these fake licences come with a licensing centre’s stamp, official signatures and the holder’s fingerprints.

And those selling them are car guards and instructors from fly-by-night driving schools who hang around the city’s driving licence test centres and admit to colluding with the examiners.

It has become such a problem that a six-year probe by the Special Investigating Unit into corruption at a driving licence testing centre uncovered 11 175 invalid (fake) licences.

The Star’s investigation involved ordering fake licences and telling corrupt officials involved that they would return later for the forgeries.

The price of the licence depended on the centre. At Langlaagte a licence costs R4 500, while at Sandton one can be bought for R2 700.

At the Randburg and Florida testing stations, be prepared to fork out R2 500.

The cheapest learner’s licence is R800. The learner has to write the test, but the answers are circled on the answer sheet by the time it gets to the learner.

When The Star visited the stations, it took just an hour to secure a licence.

According to the instructor at Langlaagte, the R4 500 fee would include the hiring of the truck, paying off the examiner, his fee and the actual test fees.

How it works is that the learner driver books his or her test legitimately, but is not penalised for errors during a driving exam.

At Florida, several options were available.

A car guard, known to The Star, offered a fake temporary licence for R1 200 and a fake licence card for as little as R1 800.

The licence, which is allegedly printed at a pub, came with a Florida licensing centre stamp, a signature, fingerprints, and red tape covering the holder’s photograph, as the original temporary licences do.

All that was needed up front was R300 and two photos. The holder would have to bring the ink pad for their fingerprints.

And once they receive their licence, they would pay the remainder of the R1 200.

“It looks real, and if a metro police officer has to stop you, he won’t know the difference. The only thing is it is not on the system,” said the car guard.

The fake card licence, according to the car guard, took a little longer to print – 30 minutes to be exact. It would cost R1 800.

According to the car guard, there were several more options for getting a licence.

A “sure pass” learner’s licence with the answers already filled onto the answer sheet would cost R900, in addition to the R108 admin fee charged at the centre.

“About R600 goes to the admin staff inside and R300 goes to the examiner. You won’t have to fill in anything, you will just make as if you write – the answers will be filled in,” said the car guard.

He said it needed to be organised through a driving school.

For your driving licence, advised the car guard, the person would book a legitimate test but would will never have to get behind the wheel.

Known as a “sure pass”, it would cost R2 500.

A similar “sure pass” learners at the Randburg testing station cost only R800.

“You will have to write, but the answers are on the page. A licence at the centre would cost R2 500.

“Come with your money on the day of your learners and I will give it to the examiners,” said the car guard.

At Randburg, a driving school teacher said he was friends with all the examiners and could guarantee a “sure pass”.

A Soweto man, who owns a fake licence but does not want to be identified as he fears prosecution, said it took him three days in February to get the licence. But he never collected his card because he later found out that the licence was never properly processed.

Joburg metro police department spokeswoman Edna Mamonyane said corruption at testing centres was a challenge.

“We are trying to uproot it,” she said. - The Star

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