Licensing clampdown welcomed
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.