JOHANNESBURG – Justice Project South Africa is delighted to note that some action is finally being taken to tackle the rampant corruption in driving and vehicle licensing centres within the City of Johannesburg and now, Gauteng in general.
Today it was announced that a further 7 licensing officials were arrested by the Hawks, resulting from the investigation the City of Johannesburg commissioned in the latter part of 2016.
Following this announcement, the MEC for Roads and Transport for Gauteng, Ismail Vadi put out a media release announcing that an investigation launched by his department in 2013 has revealed that a possible 394 officials employed in motor vehicle registering authorities in Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Sedibeng and the West Rand, and involving some R42 million in what appears to be vehicle licensing fraud are also on the radar, 19 of whom it appears are to be suspended and prosecuted shortly.
What is notable about the MEC’s announcement is the fact that his department’s investigation appears to be focussed primarily on vehicle licensing, as opposed to the “irregular” issue of driving licences by corrupt officials. Whilst there is no denying that fraud and corruption in vehicle licensing robs government of revenues, the “irregular” issue of driving licences by corrupt officials arguably puts unqualified drivers on the road, thereby causing severe repercussions which affect the daily lives of ordinary road users, as well as adversely affecting the economy and draining State resources.
The recent instruction by the Minister of Transport for the Road Traffic Management Corporation to “undertake an audit of how driving licences as well as roadworthy certificates are processed and issued in our testing stations, so that we can have an appreciation of how it is possible that so many incompetent drivers and un-roadworthy vehicles could be on our roads” is laudable, albeit long overdue and somewhat trailing the pack.
JPSA hopes that the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport and all other authorities acknowledge the clear dangers of “irregular” driving licenses and have similarly been investigating, and will take action on the rampant fraudulent issuing of driving licenses which is prevalent in driving licence testing centres. If a mere 10% of those driving licenses have been “bought”, this means that more than 50,000 potentially incompetent drivers have been put on our roads in 2016 alone.
JPSA also hopes that those who are suspended will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and that the courts will take very seriously, the adverse impact of corruption on society when sentencing persons convicted of corruption.