The Hawks have arrested 10 Limpopo testing station officials for allegedly selling drivers’ licences.
The officials are expected to appear in the Malamulele and Mutale magistrates’ courts on Friday (6 December).
“The Hawks’ serious corruption investigation team, in collaboration with Road Traffic Management Corporation centre, embarked on a project-driven investigation aimed at addressing allegations of corrupt activities at the testing stations in the province,” Hawks spokesperson Captain Matimba Maluleke said.
“The Hawks’ investigation revealed that the driving licences were sold at a minimum of R8,600 per applicant.”
The arrests are the latest in a long line of busts which show that fraud is rampant in the country’s vehicle licensing system.
Some of the most notable recent cases include:
- More than 50 examiners of vehicles including two owners have been arrested at various privately owned vehicle-testing stations since the start of Operation Corolla in October to address fraud and corruption relating to the issuing of roadworthy certificates;
- A driving school operator and two licensing officials were arrested in Thohoyandou (Limpopo) in November for fraudulently issuing drivers licenses to applicants for a fee;
- Three Eastern Cape vehicle-testing officials were imprisoned in September for corruption and fraud around learner licences.
A 2017 investigation by Corruption Watch researchers found that corrupt practices were rife at centres which handle applications for learner’s and driver’s licences.
“Our analysis indicated that corrupt practices are acceptable even if deterrent measures such as cameras are implemented,” Corruption Watch said.
“It is often the officials who solicit bribes from prospective drivers, at times accomplished with the assistance of driving instructors.”
The organisation said young people, because of their social circumstances, often have no choice but to resort to being corrupt.
MyBroadband has previously reported that testing officers and the owners of driving schools have solicited bribes for as little as R2,500 from people wanting to get a driver’s license.