Fraudulent driving licence syndicate bust welcomed

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pretoria - Deputy Transport Minister Jeremy Cronin has welcomed yet another fraudulent driving licence syndicate bust, which brings the number of fraudulent licence breakthroughs to three in the past week alone.

On Monday, five people were arrested at Stellenbosch in the Western Cape on charges of dealing in and issuing fraudulent licences.

The suspects included three traffic officers, a driving school owner and a taxi driver.

The arrest came as a result of a joint anti-corruption initiative by the National Department of Transport, the Provincial Department of Transport and Public Works and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

The acting National Director of Public Prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe on Monday authorised the institution of prosecution in respect of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Act 121 of 1998) with regards to this case.

Cronin said the arrest was a major milestone in law enforcement as it was the first of its kind and successful prosecution carries a minimum 25-year jail sentence.

"We want to commend the SIU, SAPS and all other role-players on these arrests, which form part of a forensic investigation that was initiated by the Department of Transport into allegations of fraud and corruption relating to learner and driving licences around the country," Cronin said, warning that more arrests in other provinces could be expected soon.

"We are closing the net on fraudulent learner and driving licences and will leave no stone unturned in bringing the perpetrators to book.

"Attacking inefficiency, fraud and corruption in our driver licensing and testing systems forms an integral part of our mandate," said Cronin.

He also appealed to members of the public who may have any information that may assist in the investigations to contact their local police.

Last Friday, the Mokopane Regional Court in Limpopo sentenced a former traffic officer to six years' imprisonment, without the option of a fine, for fraudulently issuing learner and driver's licences.

The sentence had followed the arrest of three men and two women last Wednesday, believed to be part of a syndicate which sold fake learner and driving licences in and around Bloemfontein, were arrested.