Min­is­ter or­ders probe into cor­rup­tion at li­cens­ing de­part­ments

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - KHAYA KOKO

“WE ARE go­ing back­wards, we are not go­ing for­ward!”

So said the founder and head of the Jus­tice Project South Africa (JPSA), Howard Dem­bovsky, in re­ac­tion to pre­lim­i­nary fig­ures for fes­tive sea­son road crashes and fa­tal­i­ties re­leased by Min­is­ter of Trans­port Dipuo Peters.

Peters an­nounced that road deaths reached 1 714, a 5 per­cent in­crease from the pre­vi­ous year.

She blamed mainly bad driv­ers and un­road­wor­thy ve­hi­cles for the bulk of the fa­tal­i­ties, ad­mit­ting there was cor­rup­tion in cen­tres run by her depart­ment.

Dem­bovsky took spe­cific is­sue with the min­is­ter’s ac­knowl­edge­ment of cor­rup­tion at li­cens­ing de­part­ments and ve­hi­cle test­ing sta­tions, say­ing it’s not enough for Peters to ac­knowl­edge the is­sues now when they have been known for al­most 15 years.

Peters an­nounced yes­ter­day at a Midrand ho­tel that she has in­structed the Road Traf­fic Man­age­ment Cor­po­ra­tion to con­duct an au­dit of trans­port cen­tres to de­ter­mine why there are so many “in­com­pe­tent driv­ers” and “un­road­wor­thy ve­hi­cles” on South Africa’s roads.

“The ad­mis­sion of cor­rup­tion is noth­ing new.

“The au­dit that they in­tend em­bark­ing on with re­spect to the is­su­ing of (il­le­gal) driv­ing li­cences is good, but it is 15 years over­due,” said Dem­bovsky.

“The Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tions Unit re­leased a re­port show­ing that more than 50 per­cent of the driv­ing li­cences is­sued be­tween 1998 and 2002 were ir­reg­u­lar.”

JPSA is an NGO in­volved in pre­vent­ing and ad­dress­ing cor­rup­tion in law en­force­ment, es­pe­cially on road trans­port is­sues.

The min­is­ter an­nounced at yes­ter­day’s brief­ing that “pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion and aware­ness cam­paigns were launched… across dif­fer­ent me­dia plat­forms”.

Asked by The Star how much the ad­ver­tis­ing bud­get was to run th­ese cam­paigns, Peters could not give an an­swer and said dif­fer­ent agen­cies of her depart­ment, in­clud­ing pri­vate sec­tor money, were used, and the ex­act amount would still have to be col­lated.

PIC­TURE: MLONDOLOZI MBOLO

LUCKY ES­CAPE: The oc­cu­pants of sev­eral cars in­volved in an ac­ci­dent on the M5 near New­lands yes­ter­day es­caped with­out se­ri­ous in­juries. Mean­while, traf­fic of­fi­cials have launched road­blocks across the prov­ince as the hol­i­day sea­son comes to an end and traf­fic vol­umes in­crease.

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