The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has welcomed the five-year sentences the Durban Commercial Crimes Court handed down to five learner licence applicants, who bribed licence examiners to obtain learner licences fraudulently.
The RTMC on Friday said the five were arrested at Umngeni licensing office in Howick last year as part of an anti-corruption crackdown by the corporation’s National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit and the Hawks.
“That crackdown resulted in the arrest of 15 people, including six officials and nine applicants. A driving school operator, who is alleged to be an intermediary who facilitated the fraudulent transactions, was arrested two weeks ago,” RMTC spokesperson Simon Zwane said.
Nokukhanya Benzani Gcabashe, Makhosi Princess Mbokazi, Zwelihle Nkanyiso Mzimela, Melusi Robert Dlamini and Nobuhle Chantal Mbali, five of the nine applicants, pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud and were sentenced to five years imprisonment or R5 000 fine. Half of the sentence was suspended for five years.
The case against the remaining suspects, Siyabonga Brian Thulebona Mlotshwa, Alex Vusumuzi Nzama, Mbuyiselwa Excellent Zondi and Nhlanhla Prince Zondi has been postponed to 24 April when they are expected to plead and be sentenced.
RTMC Chief Executive Officer Advocate Makhosini Msibi said the conviction was yet another victory in the battle against corruption.
“This should send a message to the public that crime does not pay.”
Msibi said the convictions would boost efforts to improve safety and reduce fatalities on the roads.
The convicted applicants will now have a criminal record against their names and this will have negative consequences for them when looking for employment.
“The trial of the officials is set to start on 24 June in the same court. The driving school operator is expected to appear in court next month.
“Investigations into corruption at the Howick licensing office have not been concluded and more arrests can be expected,” said Msibi.