JOHANNESBURG – Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba announced on Tuesday that four licensing department officials had been arrested for fraud and corruption as part of a wide-ranging anti-graft clampdown, with the City saying the total amount involved exceeded R14 million.
The arrested suspects were among seven suspected officials at the Sandton Licensing Department and at the Martindale Bulk Licensing Department in Midrand.
According to the City of Joburg’s spokesperson, Tony Taverna-Turisan, one suspect was currently hospitalised and would be arrested there, while the addresses of two others were still being sought by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), as they did not pitch for work on Tuesday.
In a statement, Mashaba said the city had identified a total of 106 allegedly corrupt licensing centre officials who would be arrested in the coming days.
“Each of the suspects will be immediately suspended, pending swift disciplinary processes by the City,” Mashaba said.
Between January 2008 and February 2016, 972 alleged fraudulent transactions, with a total value of R14.7 million, were identified within the city.
Criminal syndicates are alleged to have colluded with certain licensing officials to perform illegal transactions on the licensing computer system.
This included collusion to unlawfully allow motorists to obtain drivers’ licenses, obtain disc licenses, and register vehicles.
Licensing officials are alleged to have pocketed cash that would have ordinarily been paid to the city and utilised for much needed service delivery.
In November, Mashaba appointed former provincial Hawks head, Shadrack Sibiya, as the city’s new head of internal investigations.
“Through the investigation conducted by Mr Sibiya, we have determined that the problem is not limited to the City of Johannesburg. Between January 2008 and February 2016, these fraudulent transactions were valued at R155,074,672.08 nationally,” Mashaba said.
“Corruption is deplorable and steals from the poor. When I took office, I declared corruption public enemy number one. When I announced Shadrack Sibiya as the new Head of the city’s internal investigations, I promised to root out corruption in the city of Johannesburg and to bring those responsible for its existence to book.”
Mashaba said: “I will not rest until “a clean, responsive and caring administration that puts the interests of our residents first becomes a reality in Johannesburg.”
African News Agency