Pretoria - Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi has welcomed the arrests of seven officials employed at the Sandton Driver Testing Centre and the Martindale Bulk Licensing Department in the City of Johannesburg.
The officials were arrested by the Hawks on Tuesday.
MEC Vadi said he supported the on-going investigations into the alleged corrupt activities of a further 106 officials at various other driver testing centres.
The arrests and investigations into alleged fraud and corrupt activities at driver testing centres in Johannesburg is fully supported by the provincial government and we will work closely with the city's leadership in breaking criminal syndicates linked to these centres, MEC Vadi said in a statement on Wednesday.
He said any action aimed at combating corruption is in the public interest and will be supported by the provincial department of roads and transport.
MEC Vadi said that corrupt practices initiated through criminal syndicates, selected driving schools and the bribing of examiners at testing stations is a matter of serious concern.
According to a statement issued by Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, there were 972 alleged fraudulent transactions at a total value of R14 717 444 which were identified within the City between January 2008 and February 2016.
Indications are that syndicates allegedly colluded with certain licensing officials to perform illegal transactions on the licensing computer system.
MEC Vadi said that he had spoken to the MMC for Public Safety, Councillor Michael Sun, commending him for the actions taken and pledging his support for the on-going investigations.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters released the official 2016/17 festive season and road crash figures. A total of 1 714 fatalities were recorded in this festive period which is a 5% increase on the previous period.
She said the fact that an overwhelming majority of fatal crashes were as a result of a single motor vehicle overturning and head-on collisions points to the incompetence of drivers to handle their motor vehicles.
There is an influx on our roads of drivers who are not competent and qualified to be driving on our roads.
I have instructed the Road Traffic Management Corporation to undertake an audit of how driving licenses as well as road safety certificates are processed and issued in our testing stations, so that we can have an appreciation of how it is possible that so many incompetent drivers and un-roadworthy vehicles could be on our roads, Minister Peters said.
On the basis of the findings, it is expected that affected individuals will be called back for re-evaluation.
Source: South African Government News Agency