Minister orders probe into corruption at licensing departments
“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.
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.