Several testing stations face imminent closure
15 Dec 2011
As part of government’s plans to ensure safer roads, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has warned that several testing stations across the country face closure.
Earlier today (Thursday, 15 December 2011), the Ministerial Task Team, appointed by Minister Ndebele to investigate fraudulent cross-border vehicle roadworthy certificates, met in Johannesburg to review progress. The Task Team, chaired by Adv James Mlawu: Deputy Director-General in the national Department of Transport (NDoT) includes representatives from government as well as the private sector and Business against Crime.
“Over the past seven months, the Ministerial Task Team, appointed to investigate fraudulent cross-border roadworthy certificates in conjunction with law enforcement agencies including the Hawks, has been engaged in gathering evidence to verify the number of vehicles issued with roadworthy certificates in the various provinces as well as those vehicles that failed roadworthy tests, but were subsequently roadworthied at testing stations in other provinces.
All roadworthy certificates issued by a testing station in a certain province but being licensed in another province are being flagged, to the effect that NDoT is investigating the entire issue of cross-border roadworthy certificates. As a result, several arrests and closure of testing stations are imminent. This follows numerous arrests, convictions, dismissals and de-registrations of government officials as well as private individuals over the past year with regards to fraud and corruption. Several vehicle and driver licensing testing centres have also subsequently been shut down.
“Furthermore, we are closely monitoring testing stations suspected of issuing fraudulent roadworthy certificates as well as the entire testing station regulatory process such as testing stations not managing and/or controlling vehicle testing in accordance with relevant legislation. Various legislative amendments are also being considered in order to deal effectively with the issue of fraudulent roadworthy certificates, including amending the provisions whereby vehicles roadworthied in certain provinces are being licensed in other provinces,” said the Minister.
On Tuesday, 13 December two Mpumalanga traffic officers were suspended after they were found guilty of fraud. The two were convicted by the KwaMhlanga Magistrate's Court in November after one of the officers issued an upgraded driver's licence to the other without a test in 2008. The two officials were fined R20,000 each, with half the amount suspended.
Meanwhile, law enforcement officers are out in full force to ensure safe roads, particularly ahead of the start of the long week-end tomorrow (December 16). On the N1 north-Polokwane at the Montsole Weighbridge today (15 December), the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) in collaboration with Scania and Vitality Health are conducting a road safety heavy vehicle and driver fitness awareness intervention as part of the festive season campaign. The exercise is aimed at heightening road safety awareness amongst heavy vehicle drivers in the transport industry, and includes a multi-disciplinary, interactive road block, with the intention of reducing road crashes.
“No mercy will be shown to any person who disobeys road rules. We call upon all road users to be part of obeying road rules. Before embarking on a trip, test yourself, test your vehicle and act responsibly on the roads. Road safety is everybody’s responsibility. Road traffic offences must be reported to 0861 400 800,” Minister Ndebele said.
Last week (5 to 11 December), more than 180 motorists were arrested across the country including 107 for drunk driving, 11 for excessive speed, six for reckless and/or negligent driving, 10 for overloading, 20 for public transport permits, five for not being in possession of a valid driving licence, eight for false documents and 14 for other offences.
During the same period, 200,150 vehicles and drivers were checked, 42,840 fines issued for various traffic offences and 840 un-roadworthy vehicles discontinued from use.
Last month (November), 1,047,345 vehicles and drivers were screened and 289,394 fines issued for various traffic offences. Four thousand five hundred and nine (4,509) un-roadworthy vehicles were taken off the roads. More than 5,100 drivers were arrested, including 1,724 for drunk driving, 160 for excessive speed, 111 for reckless and/or negligent driving, 64 for overloading, 2,539 for warrants of arrest, 106 for public transport permits, 106 for not being in possession of a valid driving licence, 31 for false documents and 346 for other offences.
Over the past three months (September, October, November 2011), more than 3,500 public transport and freight drivers have been arrested as part of pre-December holiday traffic law enforcement operations and following Minister Ndebele's instruction that every bus and taxi must be stopped and checked.
From October 2010 to October 2011, 15,051,565 vehicles and drivers were checked, 6,287,308 fines issued for various traffic offences, 21,575 drunk drivers arrested and 60,313 un-roadworthy vehicles (the majority of which are buses and taxis) discontinued from use, as part of the new National Rolling Enforcement Plan (NREP) and million-a-month vehicle check announced by Minister Ndebele on 10 September 2010.
Cell: 083 6444 050
Issued by: Department of Transport
15 Dec 2011
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