Minister Fikile Mbalula: Findings of SIU and RTMC investigations

Statement delivered by the Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula, on the occasion of the media briefing held on 24 October 2022 at 09h00
The Special Investigation Unit (SIU) was mandated by the President through Proclamation R37 of 2017 to investigate matters in respect of the following:
• Registration of motor vehicles
• Licencing of motor vehicles
• Testing and issuing of roadworthy certificates
• Testing and issuing of Driving Licences, Learner’s Licences, Professional Driving Permits and issuing of operator fitness cards
• Conversion of foreign licences to South African Licences
• The entering of, tampering with, or manipulation of data or information on the electronic National Traffic Information System (e-Natis)

The SIU has since presented an Interim report identifying a number of administrative actions that should be taken by various authorities. The SIU has until 31 March 2023 to complete the investigations and table a final report.
Concerns that gave rise to the investigation relate to, amongst others, officials at DLTCs collaborating with driving schools on the issuing of learners’ and driving licences.
It is important to appreciate that the design of our road traffic management system is premised on the acknowledgement that while Provincial roads, traffic and parking, fall within the ambit of exclusive Provincial legislative competence, maintaining national norms and standards is necessary to ensure effective performance
In its investigation, the SIU identified the drivers of the systemic and operational challenges that gave rise to the corruption and malfeasance.
• Backlog and desperate need for driving licences, road worthy certificates, registration of vehicles drive fraudulent conduct;
• Corrupt officials and criminal middlemen exploit systemic weaknesses;
• Negligent and/or incompetent officials which some have access to the NaTIS system;
• Inadequate compliance monitoring by relevant authorities;
• Lack of and/or weak management and oversight;
• Lack of standard operating procedures (SOP) across National, Provincial, Local Authorities and private institutions;
• Lack of MoU with local authorities, DLTC, Private vehicles testing centres and private institutions,
• No agreed minimum performance standards for officials and/or employees;
• No financial autonomy resulting in inadequate resourcing;
• Legislative gaps;
• Greed which drives irregular and criminal behaviour;
• Roadworthy certificates issued without vehicles been tested;
• Unlawful selling of licences by DLTC officials to private persons;
• Money dumping. This relates to traffic fines; SANRAL e-toll invoices, AARTO infringements, Licence fees, dumped on deceased persons records or persons with duplicate identifications in the form of a South African identity number of Traffic Register Number.
• Driving schools paying driving licence examiners to issue licences irregularly and/or fraudulently.
• The conversion of false foreign licences into South African Card licences.
• The authorisation of Roadworthiness without vehicle testing.

Through the work of the SIU, the following milestones were achieved:
• 99 acknowledgement of debt documents signed to the value of forty five million seven hundred and twenty one thousand three hundred and eight rand seventy five cents (R45 721 308.75), with the actual value of Cash Recovered through this process standing at three million eight hundred and forty five thousand two hundred and sixty four rand ninety five cents (R3 845 264.95).
• The actual value of cash recovered through the seizure of illegally imported vehicles during joint operations with the RTMC, Hawks, SARS and SIU, in respect of 375 vehicle recovered in Eastern Cape stands at fifty two million seven hundred and ninety eight thousand seven hundred and eight rand (R52 798 708)
• One hundred and ninety thousand one hundred and ninety (190 190) driving licences have been referred to relevant MECs for cancellation.
• One hundred and ninety thousand one hundred and seventy three (190 173) driving licences issued to persons who have since perished have been referred for cancellation on eNatis.
• Forty four (44) cases have been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for prosecution.
• One hundred and twenty eight cases have been referred to various authorities for disciplinary, executive and/or administrative action.
• Eighty six (86) arrests were made for fraud and/or theft during joint operations by the RTMC, HAWKS, SARS and SIU. These are made up of:
• 36 Vehicle testing examiners
• 10 Natis officers
• 26 DLTC officials
• 3 SAPS members
• 4 Provincial Department of Transport Inspectors
• 7 Private persons
• On July 2022, six (6) officials were arrested for ten thousand (10,000) illicit transactions, which costed the state a combined loss of sixty million rand (R60m).

President Ramaphosa has been emphatic that there is no space for corrupt people in our government. Working will law enforcement authorities, we are making headway in uprooting malfeasance and corruption.
Over the last year, we have been working with MECs and SALGA to implement a number of interventions that are intended to address the root causes of these systemic and operational challenges. At the core of these interventions is a seamlessly integrated value chain guided by a single standard under the leadership of the RTMC. This would constitute a new service delivery model for all DLTCs in the country.

Various measures have been implemented which includes the introduction of online services and online payments, the rollout of smart enrolment units across all DLTCs, the centralisation of the management of booking slots.
On 27 September 2022, the National Assembly passed the National Road Traffic Amendment Bill, which addresses a number of areas covered by the SIU investigation, which includes regulation of driving schools. The Bill provides us with more instruments to aggressively tackle the intractable challenge of corruption that continues to bedevil the vehicle and driver licencing system.
The regulation of driving schools through this legislation, will enable closer scrutiny on the conduct of these schools and ensuring that uniform standards are applicable to all driving schools. This will also enable the inspector of driving schools established by the Bill to hold these schools accountable to the set standards.

In conclusion, improving driver competence means strengthening quality assurance across the value chain, from the time a learner enrols for a learner licence test, to the driving school until the driving licence card is issued. It is for that reason stricter rules are being introduced to address cheating by learners or wayward behaviour by instructors.
The prevalence of criminal conduct ranging from cloning of vehicles to fraudulent issue of driving licences is a matter of concern that is receiving our most urgent attention.
I must express my appreciation to Adv Mothibi and his team for their sterling work that enables us to exponentially improve service delivery, while uprooting corruption and malfeasance from the system.
I thank you.

Source: Government of South Africa