Sack­ings mean long queues likely at ve­hi­cle li­cens­ing cen­tres

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - ANNA COX @an­na­cox

JOBURG mo­torists want­ing to re­new their ve­hi­cle li­cences or trans­fer ve­hi­cle own­er­ship could be in for long queues over the next few days – or even find fa­cil­i­ties closed.

This fol­lows the sus­pen­sion and dis­missal of 70 of­fi­cials yes­ter­day from the City of Joburg’s mo­tor ve­hi­cle li­cens­ing cen­tres.

But while the cor­rup­tion crack­down has fo­cused mainly on li­cens­ing cen­tres thus far, it ap­pears that driv­ing schools have also been im­pli­cated in bribery and dodgy prac­tices.

Michael Sun, mem­ber of the may­oral com­mit­tee for pub­lic safety, said the of­fi­cials had been work­ing with mem­bers of the pub­lic and driv­ing schools to de­fraud the city.

The modus operandi was that the of­fi­cials would of­fer to clear traf­fic fines so that mo­torists could re­new their an­nual li­cences with­out pay­ing the fines.

“We found they were trans­fer­ring the ve­hi­cles out of the mo­torists’ names into a fic­ti­tious per­son’s name, de­ceased mo­torists or peo­ple who have never owned a ve­hi­cle. They would then re­turn the car into the name of the real owner, who would pay the li­cence fee with­out the at­tached fine.”

Of­fi­cials were caught at test­ing sta­tions pass­ing peo­ple who failed tests, or even writ­ing the tests for them. Driv­ing schools were also pay­ing bribes.

“This is very dan­ger­ous. There are drivers on the roads who are not prop­erly trained, driv­ing huge trucks. We need to put a stop to this,” Sun said.

Ser­vices were likely to be af­fected at all li­cens­ing cen­tres and some test­ing sta­tions, in­clud­ing Midrand, Rand­burg, Marl­boro, Rood­e­poort, Langlaagte and Martin­dale.

“We ask res­i­dents to be pa­tient while we are work­ing to­wards a cor­rup­tion-free city,” Sun said.

Con­tin­gency plans had been made in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the staff short­ages with the hir­ing of an 40 ad­di­tional staff.

Of­fi­cials from other di­vi­sions within the depart­ment would also help out.

“Each case has been con­sid­ered on its mer­its,” said Sun, adding that two peo­ple had been dis­missed af­ter the se­ri­ous­ness of their of­fences had been con­sid­ered.

This fol­lows eight ar­rests ear­lier this month, of the first of 106 sus­pected fraud­sters. They are out on R5 000 bail.

The city has es­ti­mated that it lost up to R14.7 mil­lion through these fraud­u­lent trans­ac­tions.

Joburg metro po­lice depart­ment spokesper­son Edna Ma­monyane also asked peo­ple to be pa­tient.

“We are work­ing with a skele­ton staff. It is mostly the ve­hi­cle li­cence de­part­ments which are af­fected. For those sim­ply re­new­ing their car li­cences, they can go to se­lected post of­fices for this in or­der to avoid queue­ing.”


BEAR WITH US: Joburg metro po­lice depart­ment spokesper­son Edna Ma­monyane ap­pealed to mo­torists for pa­tience in the face of long queues.

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