14 June 2023 - NW2130
Sithole, Mr KP to ask the Minister of Transport
Whether her department has taken any steps to (a) work with the SA Police Service to identify and/or apprehend individuals and/or syndicates responsible for the massive corruption at driving licence testing centers and (b) deal with the resultant backlog on processing licences; if not, why not in each case; if so, what are the relevant details in each case?
Yes. My Department has through the years taken several steps to (a) work with the SA Police Service to identify and/or apprehend individuals and/or syndicates responsible for the massive corruption at Driving Licence Testing Centers (DLTCs). The South African Police Service (SAPS) is a member of all the Department’s national legislation forums, where procedures and legislation are tabled to combat crime not only in the areas of DLTCs but in the road traffic environment as a whole.
Further to that, my Department is also a member of the National and Provincial Vehicle Crime Forums of the SAPS. In addition, my Department’s Directorate Compliance works closely with the SAPS and provides inputs and supplies evidence and expert witness statements in major SAPS operations if and when requested.
Both my Department and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), a Corporation of my Department, are therefore actively pursuing investigations into allegations of irregularities and bringing such cases with supporting evidence to the attention of the SAPS. Several such investigations are ongoing throughout the country. The RTMC reported that the National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit investigated 247 cases of fraud and corruption in the past financial year and made 96 arrests in collaboration with the South African Police Services.
The Inspectorate for Driving Licence Testing Centres is appointed by the Minister. The purpose of this Inspectorate is to ensure that testing centres comply with the legislative requirements and non-compliance is reported to the Provincial Departments to act upon to, amongst others reduce crime.
The Department is also engaging with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to establish a link between the National Traffic Information System (NaTIS) and DHA systems to further secure the environment by ensuring that we only transact with citizens or people who are legally in the country. Biometric verification is used to authenticate users on login. The biometric verification is currently deployed in the Smart Enrolment Units and will be deployed for the revised Computerised Learner’s Licence Testing (CLLT) within this financial year. The functionality will be extended to high-risk transactions when the applicant must be present.
The Online booking system is currently used at all DLTCs in Gauteng and 2 Metropolitan Municipalities in Eastern Cape to address collusion and fraudulent practices with bookings for tests. The solution is being rolled out in Free State.
Also with regards to part (b) my Department is working closely with DLCA to deal with the current backlog on processing licences;
The current backlog is however not a result of irregular activity at the DLTCs but as a result of maintenance on the card production machine that is taking longer than expected. The card production machine has been in operation since 1998 thus it’s obsolete and thus prone to constant breakdown. These breakdowns result in driving licence backlogs which the Department has been able to address once the machine is repaired and is in operation. A permanent solution to the problem is the replacement of this old machine with a new modern one, this is underway as part of the rolling out of the new driving licence card which was approved by Cabinet in August 2022.