Fraudulent licences shock

2018-05-27 15:03
File picture of an accident scene.

File picture of an accident scene.

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One in three licences have been obtained fraudulently.

That’s the estimation of traffic authorities who say they are waging a war on the fraudulent issuing of learner’s licences, which is threatening lives on the roads.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation’s (RTMC) National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit spokesperson Simon Zwane told Weekend Witness that they will be closing the net soon on more corrupt officials in the province.

“We have investigations at all the major regions in KZN. The investigations are at a sensitive stage and more arrests are imminent,” said Zwane.

In March, the RTMC and the Hawks arrested 15 people at the uMngeni Licensing Office in Howick, which remains closed.

Those who were arrested included five officials from the licensing office, two traffic officers, nine learners’ applicants, and a cleaner.

Last week, a couple were arrested at the Mkondeni licensing centre after a woman allegedly attempted to write the learner’s licence test on behalf of her partner.

Three others were also arrested at the Estcourt licensing centre for fraud related matters.

Zwane said the corruption related to the illegal issuing of driver’s license documents was a concern, with one out of three drivers estimated to have obtained their drivers licences fraudulently.

“We have seen instances of people who are literally buying licences … they don’t undergo the necessary tests.”

He said it was difficult to follow up and deal with this corruption.

“It’s not easy because we are not dealing with unsophisticated people.”

“Anybody who is involved in corruption will not be careless and reckless about it.”

Zwane said although the corruption was increasingly brazen, the culprits try to hide it so that they are not easily identified.

“It’s not an obvious thing and sometimes there are many people involved,” he explained.

KZN Department of Transport spokesman Mluleki Mntungwa said the department was also investigating cases of bribery and had suspended several inspectors and municipal supervisors who were responsible for testing stations.

“It contributes to lawlessness and fatalities on the roads. We appeal to all applicants for learner’s and driver’s licenses not to engage any middle man and to refrain from any corrupt activities in acquiring drivers licences,” Mntungwa said.

He said the department was in the process of updating its systems and its technology to detect corruption.

Advocate Johan Jonck who runs Arrive Alive, pointed out that it was almost impossible to establish the real scale of the problem due to improperly-issued licences being indistinguishable from genuine ones on e-Natis.

“It’s difficult to come up with numbers and to know exactly how many licences are awarded fraudulently.”

Jonck said that “corruption is one of the most important aspects threatening the safety of lives on the roads.

“It is a threat to all of us.

“People often jokingly make comments about these things but we must remember that when a crash happens every life lost is valuable,” added Jonck.

Defensive driving expert Johann von Bargen said:

“We are not getting properly qualified drivers on the road because of all the corruption taking place at the testing stations.”

He attributed the rampant corruption to a lack of law enforcement.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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