Two arrested in alleged road licence fraud syndicate

Hawks officials escort suspects accused of corruption. (Hawks)
Hawks officials escort suspects accused of corruption. (Hawks)

Two men are expected to appear in court in the Western Cape on Friday after they were arrested for vehicle licence fraud and corruption.

The Hawks said on Thursday that the men - aged 53 and 44 - were arrested in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday after they were allegedly linked to a syndicate processing fraudulent vehicle roadworthy certificates.

"Vehicles belonging to Western Cape-based owners, were reportedly exempted from being physically tested at the testing stations in Jeffreys Bay in exchange for bribes. The [pair] is expected to appear [in the] Vredenburg Magistrate's Court on the 4th October 2019," Western Cape Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Philani Nkwalase said in a statement.

READ | Two nabbed for declaring truck roadworthy an hour before it failed spot inspection

The arrests were made after four people were arrested in Cape Town and Jeffreys Bay in March and another two people were arrested in April and July.

"They were each released on R2 000 bail upon their separate court appearances. Furthermore, the court ordered the examiners and admin clerks not to access the NaTIS system; they were further barred from entering any vehicle testing station," said Nkwalase.

Respect the law

News24 reported that two testing station officials were arrested in Philippi, Cape Town, in August for allegedly issuing fraudulent roadworthy certificates.

Those arrests were made after a truck failed a spot check an hour after passing a roadworthy test at a private testing station.

Western Cape traffic police announced on Sunday that 16 people died on provincial roads over the weekend and Traffic Chief Kenny Africa urged motorists to respect the law.

"With the ongoing slaughter on our roads killing innocent people. We cannot over emphasise the fact that motorists urgently need to change their attitudes and behaviours. Unfortunately, unlawful behaviour is the order of the day, motorists overtaking at places where it is unsafe to do so, drinking and driving, failing to adhere to the basic traffic rules, using cellphones whilst driving, texting whilst driving, failing to wear safety belts."

According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation's (RTMC) National Road Safety Strategy 2016 - 2030, vehicle factors make up 14.1% of fatal collisions, while human factors account for 73.6% of fatalities on the roads. The road environment accounts for 12.3%.

The report highlights fraud and corruption as a key factor in the enforcement of traffic safety rules.

"The report makes further reference to the notion that most criminal activities pivot around the illegal and irregular acquisition of learner and drivers' licences as well as irregular acquisition of roadworthy certificates in various DLTCs (Driver Learner Testing Centres).

"The effects of fraud and corruption further impact on the manner in which traffic laws are enforced, enabling an environment where traffic law enforcement can be perceived as poor."

The RTMC report calls for improved surveillance of testing stations to ensure compliance and fight corruption.

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