95 licensing officials arrested for fraud and corruption
This is according to the national traffic anti-corruption unit of the Road Traffic Management Unit (RTMC) together with the Hawks.
This comes as yet another licensing department official, from uMngeni Municipality in Howick KwaZulu-Natal was arrested on suspicion of fraud and corruption on Wednesday.
It is believed there is a criminal network at this particular station as a total of 19 suspects have been arrested there since March last year. Nine of them were learner licence applicants.
“The official, who is also a registered traffic officer, was arrested by members of the National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit of the RTMC together with the Hawks at the licensing department on Wednesday,” said the RTMC on Thursday.
RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said 95 licensing department officials had been arrested by the national traffic anti-corruption unit across the country in the past financial year. Officials from Limpopo, Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal led the pack with the most arrests.
Zwane said greed was the biggest cause of the corruption, and that it persisted in the licensing department.
“The systems to deal with this scourge are also not always adequate, and officials exploit this for their benefit,” he said.
In Ekurhuleni, four officials from a station in Benoni were arrested for colluding with motorists by registering deceased and unsuspecting individuals as owners of vehicles that owed the metro thousands of rand in unpaid car licence discs.
Meanwhile, an internal disciplinary tribunal set up by uMngeni Municipality found three officials guilty of gross dishonesty this week. The officials face allegations that they unlawfully helped learner licence applicants to answer examination questions and enabled them to pass.
“One driver will be tested for a driver’s licence and then the entire class gets passed,” Zwane said.
He added that this usually applied to people who wanted licences for heavy duty vehicles.
“Other people don’t even pitch up for the test. An arrangement gets made for them to deliver the money, and documents are printed on their behalf which they collect from a middle man,” said Zwane.
On Monday, the RTMC announced the cancellation of registration and permanent closure of the Orlando Testing Station in Soweto and the Viking Testing Station in Devland following allegations of fraud and corruption. The deregistration of the stations followed investigations and the arrests of three motor vehicle examiners and a clerk by the RTMC last year.
An examiner and a clerk from Viking testing station were arrested for allegedly fraudulently certifying an Opel Corsa bakkie to be roadworthy.
Two examiners were arrested at Orlando testing station for allegedly using the identity numbers of innocent people as if they had presented about 54 vehicles for roadworthy tests when these people were not aware and the vehicles were not tested.
Zwane said that campaigns are run throughout the year to sensitise the community and officials about the negative effects of corruption in an attempt to limit the problem. He added that investigations and arrests are also intended to reduce this scourge.