Licence fraud in KZN
Himeville office closed after officials caught in the act
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