Driver’s licence fraud

2018-11-26 16:15
Estcourt licence testing centre official suspended over alleged fraud.

Estcourt licence testing centre official suspended over alleged fraud.

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An official at the driver’s licence testing centre in Estcourt has been suspended amidst allegations that she issued licences to people who had never even set foot in the licensing offices.

To date no criminal charges have been laid although the official faces an internal disciplinary probe.

Well-placed sources said the Umtshezi Driver’s Licence Testing Centre (DLTC) — which was established to serve Estcourt and surrounding areas — has become “notorious” for illegally is­suing driver’s licences to people across the province.

A recent report under consideration by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport fingers one official, whose name is known to The Witness, as having passed people for their eye tests and driver’s licence tests despite them not being physically present at the Umtshezi DLTC for either. The fraud was allegedly perpetrated over a period spanning more than a year dating back to last July.

Attachments to the report allege the official would even arrange for another person to take a test on an applicant’s behalf.

While the report does not specify why the official allegedly issued illegal licences, insiders believe it was all part of a bribery racket.

The report said the official committed fraud, and the actions contravened the National Road Traffic Act.

The KZN Department of Transport confirmed that the official concerned has been suspended pending an internal disciplinary hearing.

Mluleki Mntungwa, the department’s spokesperson, said the DoT had deactivated the implicated official’s user number, rendering her unable to issue licences.

He could not, however, say at this stage whether she will be criminally charged.

Affidavits and eye test reports attached to the report by the KZN DoT showed a link between people who obtained licences from Umtshezi and the implicated official’s involvement, such as processing of the eye tests.

In one affidavit, a 27-year-old man claimed a friend told him he knew someone who worked for a driving school in Estcourt “who could arrange a booking and the licence quickly”.

The man alleged his friend asked him to get R11 000 and it was arranged that another person would be tested on his behalf.

It is not made clear in the report where the R11 000 went.

The man confirmed in his affidavit that he had “never been” to the Umtshezi testing centre “at any time for either the booking or the day of the test itself.”

“ I have never been tested for my eyes or taken fingerprints at the centre.”

In another case, a 36-year-old man said a friend told him last year that he could “easily” get his truck driver’s licence for him at Estcourt.

He alleged he only ever filled in one form at the Umtshezi testing centre.

He returned later that month to be issued with a temporary licence, and returned once again to be issued his driver’s licence card.

“I wish to confirm I have never been to Estcourt in a driving school truck nor did I do any test at Estcourt before my licence was given to me,” he said.

Rafeek Shah, the DA spokesperson on transport in KZN, said corruption at licensing centres was a province-wide problem.

“The MEC [Mxolisi Kaunda] does do unannounced visits, but there is still a lack of accountability because of the processes. It is very tough to get a corrupt official fired ...”

He also said that the official in this case should be charged criminally.

The Inkosi Langalibalele Municipality which Umtshezi falls under, did not respond to a query sent to it by The Witness.

• If you know of any other incidents of driver’s licence fraud, contact kerushun.pillay@witness.co.za
Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  licence fraud
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