Li­cens­ing clam­p­down wel­comed

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

THE clam­p­down on Joburg li­cens­ing of­fi­cials and mo­torists who pay bribes in or­der to get fake driv­ing li­cences and li­cence discs is a wel­come move in the fight against cor­rup­tion. We re­ported this week the first seven of 106 sus­pected fraud­sters in the city’s li­cens­ing de­part­ment had been ar­rested, and the long arm of the law would now ex­tend to com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als in­volved in the is­su­ing of fake doc­u­ments.

Apart from the fi­nan­cial losses suf­fered by the city as a re­sult of these cor­rupt ac­tiv­i­ties, the hu­man cost to the coun­try is huge as thou­sands of driv­ers with fake li­cences find them­selves be­hind the steer­ing wheel and on our roads, which is cost­ing thou­sands of lives ev­ery year. Most of these deaths can be avoided. Added to this is the num­ber of un­road­wor­thy ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing pub­lic trans­port ve­hi­cles such as taxis, which are on our roads to­day and risk­ing the lives of thou­sands of road users.

And although it is not only driv­ers with fake doc­u­ments or un­road­wor­thy ve­hi­cles who are re­spon­si­ble for the car­nage, the ar­rest of the of­fi­cials will help rid the sys­tem of rot­ten em­ploy­ees who con­trib­ute to the deaths.

Ex­tend­ing this in­ves­ti­ga­tion to mo­torists and other in­di­vid­u­als also in­volved in this racket means the net is cast wider. This should see more peo­ple get­ting ar­rested and fac­ing the full might of the law. Only when we see peo­ple go­ing to pri­son for cor­rup­tion will the mes­sage reach all cit­i­zens that crime does not pay.

Some driv­ing schools are al­leged to be in­volved in this racket and in col­lud­ing with of­fi­cials at test­ing sta­tions to make sure they fail prospec­tive driv­ers un­less they cough up thou­sands of rands in bribes to get their li­cences. Law en­force­ment agen­cies must also ex­tend their in­ves­ti­ga­tion to these schools to make sure the sys­tem is clean.

The clam­p­down was long over­due.

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