Put up a stop sign to the buying of driver's licences

The writer is aghast that not only can a driver's license be acquired fraudulently, a drivers permits are now for sale from corrupt traffic officials.
The writer is aghast that not only can a driver's license be acquired fraudulently, a drivers permits are now for sale from corrupt traffic officials.
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I learnt a week ago that the corrupt and illegal ways of obtaining a driver's licence have gone way out of control.

I fully understand that it is common practice (even though illegal) that you will not acquire a licence without a bribe in most, if not all, parts of SA at the traffic department, unfortunately.

No matter how perfect a driver you are, the instructors and those they are in partnership with for these crimes will even tell you straight up: "You will not get your licence without 'cool drink' money. I don't care how perfect you are. I will find fault and fail you."

This is a truth that many of us have experienced. Our part in the crime is the R2,500 to R3,500 we pay for "cool drinks" just so we can walk out of the department with a driver's licence.

Too many of us are guilty of perpetuating this crime. But we are vindicated by the fact that this corrupt and illegal practice is institutional.

It has been happening for years. I have heard Christian friends say; "I will not bribe to get my licence. In Jesus' name, I shall come back with it without bribing."

I shall not dwell much on the power of Jesus' name, but I do know that after the first and the second failure, honest people succumb to the deep-rooted evil ways of obtaining a licence by paying for the expensive "cool drink".

It is tiring to actually try and fight the rot that has been around for so many years. Especially if those in power are doing nothing about it.

Nevertheless, I was shocked and devastated to realise that even the bare minimum of obtaining a learner's certification is also purchasable.

Writing the tests help potential motorists to understand the basic rules of the road. Writing this test helps everybody who you will be sharing the road with.

Corruption is rife in our country, but we cannot go as far as paying "cool drink" for such critical documents, with powers on other people's destiny on the road . Our corrupt ways, our greed should know when to stop.

People have to read the K53 and understand the fundamental rules of the road. At least let them pass the theory of how to drive. It is bad enough that we drink and drive, chat and drive. But I think people who don't know the rules of the road are more dangerous.

They want to overtake on solid lines and bends, all because they do not have appreciation of the rules and road signs. They overtake without indicating. They are lethal, without knowing much about it.

So, when someone last week told me they paid R7,500 and more for a a driver's licence, I was perplexed: when did "cool drink" double its price? Their answer was: "Didn't you know that these days you can buy both the learner's and the driver's licence? You pay the full amount, you find your test written, and all you do is just sit and play computer games and after 30 minutes or so, you press submit and walk out."

It is bad enough that we have carnage on our roads, with people who have been drivers for years contributing to the scourge.

This is because they never passed any test, theory and practical, to be behind the wheel.

The rot of buying licences may be at an incurable stage, but we have to take a conscious decision as society not to buy the licences and report the culprits. Maybe this will lead to the eventual of the rot.

SA roads are spaces of death. The driving is poor and deadly. We should be responsible enough to realise that even in corruption, we must at least have a stop sign.

At least write the theory test and pass. Let's stop paying for "cool drinks" that are so expensive.

*Chabalala is the founder of the Young Men Movement, an organisation that focuses on the reconstruction of the socialisation of boys to create a new cohort of men.

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