The Citizen (KZN)

Victims of graft are real people

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It is sad that there are many people in this country who regard corruption as a victimless crime… perhaps because there is no dead body, no blood on the floor or no damage to an object. Yet, when it comes to civil servants taking money not to do their jobs, or enriching themselves by enabling others to “eat”, then there most certainly are victims. And these victims are real people.

These are the children who drown crossing flooded rivers trying to get to school, or those who drown in pit toilets because the money to make their lives better has been stolen.

But few acts of corruption in present-day South Africa can be so heinous, or have such an impact – in terms of corpses, battered bodies and destructio­n – than those who are involved in the mega-business of issuing fake driver’s licences.

Every year, thousands of people die on our roads – and the vast majority will have been the victims of drivers who have not been trained properly or tested in driving proficienc­y. They will have no idea about the dangers of speed, boozing, or even basic skills like judging distance. Some will barely be able to control a vehicle.

And these potential – and actual – killers on our roads will have been enabled by corrupt driving test centre personnel, as well as corrupt driving schools.

Sadly, prosecutio­n and conviction of these accomplice­s to culpable homicide is rare …so we share the discomfort of the Road Traffic Management Corporatio­n with the lenient sentences handed down this week to a corrupt official and driving school employee.

Effectivel­y, they can pay fines of R5 000 and R6 000 respective­ly and walk away from a jail term.

This is outrageous. This sort of corruption needs heavy sentences – otherwise it will continue. And more people will die.

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