One of the main challenges to undoing backlogs in licence renewals and applications is corruption at Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTC) around the country.
This is according to Transport Department Deputy Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga who was briefing the Portfolio Committee on Transport about plans to improve the online licence booking system.
Driver’s licence renewal backlog
Corruption at DLTCs
It was revealed during the briefing that the country is losing billions of Rands to corruption at DLTCs with corruption in Mpumalanga costing the state about R2 billion.
The deputy minister said collusion between driver’s license operators and officials working at testing centres results in a lack of booking slots, particularly in Gauteng.
“If corruption was not as endemic, entrenched and systemic, most of the challenges would not be here. The issue is mainly about corruption. We have syndicates operating in our centres, from the security at the gate to the most senior official of the licencing station, and we are trying by all means to fight this corruption. Our interventions and the action plan on the renewal of licences seek to overhaul the current system, which is plagued with inefficiencies and corruption,” Chikunga said.
R2 billion lost in Mpumalanga
The deputy minister was joined in the briefing by Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) chief executive officer Advocate Makhosini Msibi.
He told the committee that corrupt activities are hampering progress at DLTCs.
“In Mpumalanga alone, we are losing about R2 billion to fraudulent activities by officials. It is a very lucrative deal to work at a DTLC. Most make, on average, no less than R22 000 per day. We arrested officials who were making about R140 000 in two days,” he said.
Improved online booking system
Msibi told the committee that the RTMC will be upgrading its National Traffic Information System (NaTIS), moving towards the digitisation of mobile booking centres, introducing online eye tests and bringing more provinces onto the online booking system in order to counter corruption.
“With the online booking system, a driver will do bookings online and only go for eye tests at the station, and also have the option of having their licence delivered at home, to avoid queuing. The new system of smart services speaks to all the elements of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) and the harmonisation with Home Affairs to establish validity of identity documents will all deal with the problem of fake driving licences,” Advocate Msibi said.