Traffic cops arrested for licence scam

McKeed Kotlolo

McKeed Kotlolo

Two senior traffic officers of the Thaba Chweu municipality in Mpumalanga have been arrested for selling driver's licences illegally.

The officers were arrested at their work on Friday. The two are said to have expensive lifestyles, drive luxury vehicles and stay in posh houses.

They were stationed at the municipality's vehicle testing and driver's licence centre in Lydenburg. The two officers allegedly sell code 14 driver's licences for R5500 each and code 10 for R3000.

The police first arrested the owner of Manzini Driving School, Phineas Manzini, on Thursday for allegedly providing the officers with clients. He allegedly gave them cash and the ID documents of applicants.

The applicants did not have to be present. They only reported at the testing centre for fingerprints and signatures.

Captain Leonard Hlathi confirmed the arrests and said the investigations started in 2007 "after information was received that they colluded with a Lydenburg driving school to issue driver's licences illegally".

"We established that the driving school provided clients in the form of student drivers who paid thousands of rands each for a licence.

"These clients were never tested. Instead, they would make the appointments and on the day of the driving test simply wait for the duration of the test and then be taken to the licensing department to collect their licences," Hlathi said.

Manzini appeared in the Lydenburg magistrate's court on Friday. His case was postponed to tomorrow.

Sources close to the traffic department told Sowetan that the affected station had white examiners only until January, when the first black testing officer was appointed.

The officer is allegedly not performing his duties properly because until now he has had no user name on the system. He allegedly submits results to the white officers for processing.

The officers are due to appear in court today to face fraud and corruption charges.