Li­cence fraud in KZN

Himeville of­fice closed af­ter of­fi­cials caught in the act

Weekend Witness - - News - NOKUTHULA KHANYILE

THE HIMEVILLE li­cens­ing de­part­ment is the lat­est to be closed in the prov­ince af­ter all four of its of­fi­cials have been nabbed for al­legedly is­su­ing fraud­u­lent learner’s li­cences.

A joint op­er­a­tion by the Road Traf­fic Man­age­ment Cor­po­ra­tion’s (RTMC) Anti-Cor­rup­tion Unit, the Hawks and KwaZulu-Na­tal traf­fic and trans­port unit led to the ar­rest of a su­per­vi­sor and three ex­am­in­ers sta­tioned at the Himeville Li­cens­ing and Test­ing Sta­tion.

The ar­rests come af­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tions un­cov­ered ram­pant cor­rup­tion in­volv­ing of­fi­cials is­su­ing fraud­u­lent learner’s li­cences. One of the ex­am­in­ers in the eye test­ing de­part­ment, was al­legedly fill­ing in ap­pli­cants’ forms with­out mak­ing them un­dergo any eye tests.

RTMC spokesper­son Si­mon Zwane told Week­end Wit­ness yes­ter­day that the ar­rests were part of an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ini­ti­ated in 2017, that learner’s li­cence ap­pli­cants were be­ing helped to pass their tests fraud­u­lently for a fee.

The RTMC of­fi­cials had been watch­ing the cen­tre for months.

The of­fi­cials have been charged with fraud and cor­rup­tion and are ex­pected to ap­pear in the Com­mer­cial Crimes Court in Dur­ban on Mon­day.

Zwane said they sus­pected that the fraud had been go­ing on for years. He said they con­fis­cated doc­u­ments from the cen­tre that could help with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

He said they had es­tab­lished that peo­ple who stayed out­side of Un­der­berg had gone to the cen­tre to ob­tain their learner’s li­cences fraud­u­lently.

He said it was not clear whether the test­ing sta­tion would re­main open.

Li­cence fraud is a huge prob­lem through­out the coun­try. We hope that with these kinds of in­ves­ti­ga­tions and ar­rests we’ll de­ter peo­ple and it should even­tu­ally con­trib­ute to us hav­ing safer driv­ers on the roads.

“The re­spon­si­bil­ity is now on the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to find peo­ple to con­tinue run­ning op­er­a­tions in the learner li­cens­ing cen­tre. The peo­ple we ar­rested, as far as we know, are the only peo­ple who work there.”

In March, the unit ar­rested 15 peo­ple at the uMn­geni Li­cens­ing Of­fice in How­ick af­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tions un­cov­ered cor­rup­tion in­volv­ing of­fi­cials is­su­ing fraud­u­lent learner’s li­cences.

That case is set to go on trial next year. Mean­while, uMn­geni Mu­nic­i­pal­ity has also in­sti­tuted a dis­ci­plinary process against the em­ploy­ees in­volved.

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.

Zwane said learner’s and driver’s li­cence fraud con­tin­ued to rear its ugly head in the prov­ince. “Li­cence fraud is a huge prob­lem through­out the coun­try. We hope that with these kinds of in­ves­ti­ga­tions and ar­rests we’ll de­ter peo­ple and it should even­tu­ally con­trib­ute to us hav­ing safer driv­ers on the roads. We want to re­duce the high num­ber of road ac­ci­dent fa­tal­i­ties, par­tic­u­larly in this prov­ince,” he said.

Zwane said that they will be clos­ing the net soon on more cor­rupt of­fi­cials in the prov­ince.

Dr Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma Mu­nic­i­pal­ity spokesper­son, Skhum­buzo Sethuntsha said the cen­tre would re­main closed un­til fur­ther no­tice.

Sethuntsha said of­fi­cials from the mu­nic­i­pal­ity were ex­pected to meet with the pro­vin­cial Trans­port De­part­ment next week. • [email protected]­dia24.com

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