A driving licence applicant is facing charges of bribery and corruption after trying to convince a City of Cape Town official to help him get his licence. On Tuesday 8 March 2016, the applicant offered his licensing examiner R2 000 for a pass at the New Ottery Driving Licence Testing Centre. The examiner raised the alarm and the applicant was soon arrested. The cash was handed over to the South African Police Service as evidence.
‘Reports of bribery and corruption are common in South Africa and this is not the first instance where someone has tried to effectively buy their licence. It still continues to shock me how brazen some people are. I am very proud of the examiner for the way he handled this case,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.This incident comes just four months after another licensing examiner and a driving instructor were arrested during a sting operation – also at New Ottery – for accepting a bribe to issue a driving licence. In that case, the applicant blew the whistle after his driving instructor initiated the bribe.
‘Incidents of this nature go both ways. Sometimes it is our officials who are knowingly involved in illegal activities and in other instances, like the most recent one, they are blindsided by people who appear to believe that every government official is for sale,’ added Alderman Smith.
In 2015, the City’s Traffic Service initiated 13 cases of fraud and corruption against staff members. Three of them were testing officers accused of illegally issuing learners and driving licences. The criminal investigations and disciplinary processes are ongoing.
‘Driving licences are sought after because they open doors to jobs and other opportunities. Sadly, this creates a hotbed for potential exploitation and corruption. We know that driving schools are often involved, but it is difficult to prove.
‘On our side, we monitor our staff’s pass rates for driving tests as well as lifestyle changes that may indicate involvement in underhanded dealings. We also engage with staff to raise awareness about bribery and corruption. There is always room for improvement and it is a work in progress.
‘I want to encourage driving licence applicants to deal with reputable driving schools to make sure they get their money’s worth, including proper instruction which should eliminate the temptation to bribe anyone,’ added Alderman Smith.