Learn­ers to book on­line

New sys­tem aims to stamp out cor­rup­tion by let­ting learner driv­ers choose test date and venue

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AL­WYN VILJOEN

THE Road Traf­fic Man­age­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (RTMC) plans to launch an on­line book­ing sys­tem in Septem­ber to com­bat cor­rup­tion in is­su­ing of driver’s li­cences to learner driv­ers.

The new sys­tem will en­able the learner driver to choose the date, time and the town where they wish to take their tests by log­ging on an on­line ap­pli­ca­tion and fi­nalise pre-book­ings in five to 10 min­utes.

The sys­tem will also be avail­able to those wish­ing to re­new their driv­ing li­cence cards.

Na­tional Traf­fic Anti-Cor­rup­tion Unit spokesper­son Si­mon Zwane said the cur­rent sys­tem “in­volves a lot of han­dling”, which cre­ates op­por­tu­ni­ties for un­scrupu­lous driv­ing schools and of­fi­cers to block off days to “test” pupils who have al­ready bought their li­cences.

The cur­rent process re­quires ap­pli­cants to queue for be­tween 140-180 min­utes at a test­ing sta­tion. Cor­rupt of­fi­cials at the li­cens­ing cen­tres have an in­cen­tive to with­hold avail­able book­ings for lu­cra­tive pay­ments from will­ing ap­pli­cants.

Zwane said the new sys­tem will ben­e­fit the pub­lic by pro­mot­ing ef­fi­cient ser­vice de­liv­ery, re­mov­ing bar­ri­ers to ac­cess, elim­i­nat­ing fraud and cor­rup­tion and op­ti­mis­ing busi­ness oper­a­tions.

It is also elim­i­nat­ing time and money used by ap­pli­cants to travel to var­i­ous li­cens­ing cen­tres to se­cure book­ings.

The so­lu­tion will also al­low li­cens­ing cen­tre man­agers to bet­ter pre­pare for vol­umes of ex- pected ap­pli­cants and al­lo­cate re­sources ac­cord­ingly.

The sys­tem will first be avail­able in Gaut­eng and while the RTMC has no dates for a na­tion­wide roll-out yet, KZN is a high pri­or­ity for the cor­po­ra­tion after it had re­vealed in May that as many as one in three li­cences in KZN have been ob­tained fraud­u­lently due to ram­pant cor­rup­tion.

March, the RTMC and the Hawks ar­rested 15 peo­ple at the uMn­geni Li­cens­ing Of­fice in How­ick, which only re­cently re­opened.

Those who were ar­rested in­cluded five of­fi­cials from the li­cens­ing of­fice, two traf­fic of­fi­cers, nine learn­ers’ ap­pli­cants, and a cleaner.

In May a cou­ple were ar­rested at the Mkon­deni li­cens­ing cen­tre after a woman al­legedly at­tempted to write the learner’s li­cence test on be­half of her part­ner.

Three oth­ers were also ar­rested at the Est­court li­cens­ing cen­tre for fraud re­lated mat­ters.

KZN De­part­ment of Trans­port spokesper­son Mluleki Mn­tungwa said the de­part­ment had sus­pended sev­eral in­spec­tors and mu­nic­i­pal su­per­vi­sors who were re­spon­si­ble for test­ing sta­tions and ap­pealed to all ap­pli­cants for learner’s and driver’s li­censes not to en­gage any mid­dle man and to re­frain from any cor­rupt ac­tiv­i­ties in ac­quir­ing driver’s li­cences.

Mn­tungwa said the de­part­ment was in the process of up­dat­ing its sys­tems and its tech­nol­ogy to de­tect cor­rup­tion.

Ad­vo­cate Jo­han Jonck, who founded Ar­rive Alive, said it was al­most im­pos­si­ble to es­tab­lish the real scale of the prob­lem due to im­prop­erly-is­sued li­cences be­ing in­dis­tin­guish­able from gen­uine ones on e-Natis.

“It’s dif­fi­cult to come up with num­bers and to know ex­actly how many li­cences are awarded fraud­u­lently.”

Jonck said cor­rup­tion threat­en­ing the safety and lives of ev­ery­one on the roads.

A new on­line book­ing sys­tem aims to stamp out sell­ing of driver’s li­cences across South Africa.

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