Four people believed to be kingpins associated with a crime syndicate involving the fraudulent sale of driving licences in the North West have been arrested.
The suspects who include driving licence examiners and driving school operators were arrested on Tuesday in Klerksdorp and Stillfontein. An additional two suspects are expected to be added soon.
The arrests followed a two-year investigation, dubbed operation KPS, conducted by the Road Traffic Management (RTMC) national traffic anti-corruption unit together with the South African Police Service (SAPS) anti-corruption and crime intelligence units.
“The investigation revealed that examiners of driving licences were colluding with driving school operators to have learner’s and driving licences fraudulently issued to aspiring driving without requiring them to undergo the required tests. It was established that the syndicate had hijacked driving licence centres in Klerksdorp, Potchefstroom and Stillfontein to conduct its corrupt activities.
“Driving school operators play a pivotal role by booking for aspirant drivers, arranging eye tests with local optometrists and co-ordinating examiners to ensure that licences are issued. In some instances, driving schools organise jockeys, that are qualified drivers who undertake driving tests on behalf of aspirant drivers or applicants,” the RTMC said.
The suspects were detained in police custody at Jouberton police station and are expected to appear in the Klerksdorp Magistrate Court on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, 10 other licensing officials from Harrismith in the Free State are due to appear in the local regional court on 25 May on similar charges of fraud related to the issuing of driving licences.
Five other officials will appear in the Bethlem regional court on similar charges as well. They were all arrested in 2021.
“Sixteen suspects who include former Mpumalanga provincial government officials, staff from municipal offices and vehicle fleet owners will appear at the Nelspruit Commercial Crimes Court in connection with the alleged R60 million vehicle licence fee corruption on 21 February 2023.
“They are facing charges of fraud, corruption, and money laundering after it was discovered that they allegedly conspired to ensure that vehicles licence fees and arrears worth tens of millions were written off and officials pocketed half of the fees due to the state,” the RTMC said.
The RTMC has urged members of the public to work with it to root out corruption in driving licence centres.
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