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01/04/2015

No bribe, no licence at test centre

iol.co.za - Cape Town - Corrupt officials at the Joe Gqabi Driving Licence Testing Centre in Philippi and unscrupulous driving school operators are cashing in on learner drivers.

Some aspirant drivers, interviewed as they waited to be tested at the centre, said a payment of R3000 guaranteed them a driving licence. The amount excluded R150 per hour for driving lessons.

A Phillipi resident said he had bribed an official after failing his test three times.

“I was told if I won’t pay, I won’t make it,” he said.

The learner drivers, who were tested in the centre’s yard, had to avoid hitting the poles because the chief inspector was watching, an official at the centre said. Once outside the yard, the learner driver’s mistakes were ignored.

If a learner driver did knock a pole in the yard, the bribe money was refunded and another test was arranged at additional cost.

Learner drivers that were interviewed, an inspector, examiners and driving school owners have confirmed this practice, saying it was widespread. They spoke on condition that their names were not be published.

A traffic official said that in the 15 years he had worked as an instructor, he had received a share of the bribes.

“On the morning of the test, I know who has paid the bribe and who has not. We fail first-timers if they have not paid. My share is usually R300 to R400,” he said.

He would tell the learner driver what to do and what not to do during a driving licence test, he said.

MAJOR PROBLEM

A driving school operator said the aspirant drivers were the ones offering bribes.

Marius Luyt, speaking on behalf of the AA, said bribery was still a major problem that needed to be stopped.

He said his organisation would “address this issue on all relevant platforms where possible”.

Luyt said fraudulently licensed drivers were not tested to ensure they knew the rules of the road.

“Therefore such a driver is a danger on South African roads and puts other road users’ lives in danger,” he added.

Transport MEC Donald Grant’s spokesperson, Siphesihle Dube, said the department welcomed any information that would help root out corrupt officials.

He said the department was busy addressing the problem where and when incidents occurred.

Pat Allen of the South African Institute for Driving Inspectors said there was a great deal of corruption in the driving school industry.

“Saidi is aware that many officials take bribes. We believe greedy examiners are largely responsible for this.

“It was recently reported to me by a member of another association that they are seeing envelopes being passed forward to cashiers at a mobile testing centre after being told that no appointments were available, only to hear a corrupt driving instructor being called forward and allocated an appointment,” said Allen.

The city’s executive director for safety and security, Richard Bosman, said it took any allegations of bribery extremely seriously.

He said when officials were caught, they were dismissed and criminal complaints were lodged with the police.

Bosman encouraged the public to report any irregular activities.

“With your help, we can ensure that anyone who tries to cheat the system is brought to book,” Bosman said.

Cape Times



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