Corruption audits must prove successful
The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) has welcomed the suspension of 70 officials for corruption at six vehicle testing centres in Gauteng.
“Many problems associated with road safety begin and end at the licensing centres. Various administrations in the transport department have expressed concern about rampant corruption at these centres, which puts incompetent and dangerous drivers on our roads, as well as unsafe, unroadworthy vehicles. This is an encouraging, and long-overdue, first step in dealing with these problems,” the AA notes.
This move comes after Transport Minister Dipuo Peters announced earlier this month that the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) would conduct an audit of the centres to determine the level of corruption in the issuing of driving licences and roadworthy certificates. It was announced today that a further seven licensing officials have been arrested by the Hawks, resulting from the investigation the City of Johannesburg commissioned in the latter part of 2016.
“The developments in Johannesburg are, we hope, just the beginning. We need the RTMC to act in the same way at licence testing facilities across the country, and do so quickly, in the interests of better road safety,” the AA says.
The AA adds that the audit should lead to the retraining of staff, the removal of corrupt staff, putting stronger and more robust systems in place, and a move towards more efficient handling of driver tests and roadworthy checks.
“People who have bought their driving licences or roadworthy certificates also need to be aware that the law may be coming after them. Incompetent drivers, and unroadworthy vehicles, are major contributors to deaths on our roads − and the staff issuing the licences are only part of that problem. Citizens who are buying these documents are also complicit in criminality and must be dealt with,” the AA adds.
“If the RTMC is to follow the Johannesburg Metro’s lead with its audit, it will be able to provide citizens a clearer picture of how many ‘unroadworthy’ drivers we have on our roads endangering the lives of motorists who have obtained their permits legally. The findings of this audit are therefore an essential first step in dealing with the annual road carnage,” the AA says.