Four officials, including three vehicle examiners and a cashier, were arrested for allegedly facilitating the issuing of fraudulent roadworthy certificates to vehicles that had not been tested.
The arrests happened on Thursday on the premises of the Innovative Roadworthy Centre in Midway, Soweto, during an anti-corruption crackdown called Operation Domino.
The four were arrested when a joint team of law enforcement officers – comprising the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit, South African Police Service Organised Crime Unit, as well as the Gauteng Traffic Compliance Unit – raided the premises.
Hundreds of roadworthy test sheets bearing a passed stamp and bearing the signature of the cashier were found on the premises. Attempts were also made to conceal some of the test sheets behind cupboards but law enforcement officers found them when they searched the premises, said the RTMC.
The four officials are facing charges under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, which carries a sentence of between three and 18 years.
Steps will be taken to close the roadworthy centre down.
The suspects are expected to appear at the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes Court on Monday for a bail hearing.
Vehicles that were tested at this station will be recalled and retested. Those found to be unroadworthy will be impounded and their owners may be arrested.
Arrests related to road traffic corruption are expected increase in the coming weeks as law enforcement officers intensify their pre-festive season operation to address all known factors that lead to road accident fatalities, the RTMC said.
Unroadworthy vehicles contribute to more than 10% of road crashes on South African roads each year.
Source: South African Government News Agency