The driver’s licence corruption is continuing to rear its head. On Monday, the members of the Hawks in Free State arrested 14 people for their alleged involvement in the crime.
One of the suspects was a member of the public who was issued with a driver’s licence without being tested.
According to the law, any person who wants to be in possession of a driver’s licence should go through a vigorous screening, including passing a driving learner’s test as well as an eye test.
However, many people, with the assistance of corrupt testing station officials, want to take shortcuts, which is another problem that results in a high accident rate on our roads.
Fraud and corruption charges
The Hawks detained more than a dozen suspects on Monday in the Free State, Gauteng, and Mpumalanga and charged them with corruption, fraud, and money laundering.
According to Lieutenant-Colonel Zweli Mohobeleli of the Hawks, his team worked on intelligence information where the traffic department and private examiners in Bloemfontein, Brandford, Botshabelo, Ladybrand, Phalaborwa, and Nelspruit were involved in issuing learner’s and driver’s licences without following proper procedures.
The intelligence information that was received in 2022 also implicated traffic officers, driving school instructors, and runners who were all running the operation that has resulted in many people being issued learner’s and driver’s licences fraudulently.
“Operation Catfish was subsequently set up, several transactions concluded over a period, and evidence thereof presented before court. On January 26, 2024, the director of public prosecutions authorised warrants of arrest for 20 individuals.
“Early on the morning of January 29, members of the Hawks, Tactical Response Team (TRT), and Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) arrested nine males and five females aged between 30 and 57 at different locations,” said Mohobeleli.
Danger to society
The Free State head of the Hawks, Major-General Mokgadi Bokaba, vowed that more people will be arrested.
“Members of the public who obtain licences through corrupt means are a danger to society. They shall be arrested,” warned Bokaba.
On Tuesday, all 14 suspects between the ages of 30 and 56 appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court.
The court gave Tebogo Sekhosana, Moeketsi Hlopho, Patricia Leeuw, Phomolo Molefe, Makubeni Raisa, Joyce Diseko, Popi Mtsweni, Phaladi Pitjadi, Cynthia Nthako, Thabo Makunyane, Bertie Ntho, Alleta Nqai, Ditaba Ngubenyathi, and Tuelo Setlhare bail ranging from R2 000 to R5 000.
Their case was postponed to April 12. The 15th suspect, Samuel Mokhobo, handed himself to the Hawks on Tuesday, and appeared in court on the same day.