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HAWKS pounce on corrupt traffic officials

One of the suspected traffic officers from Victor Khanye Local Municipality being escorted by the HAWKS

The Hawks Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation Unit descended at the Delmas Traffic and Licence offices to swing its mighty arm of the law. In a drive that has seen the Hawks undertake covert investigations since 2016 following reports of corruption and malpractice at the Victor Khanye Traffic and Licencing Centre, the Hawks finally gathered evidence adequate to warrant initial arrests and swooped the premises arresting five people in the process.

The arrest at one moment turned into a cat and mouse operation when one of the suspects attempted to flee the site dashing across an open field all before being cornered by the members of the Hawks unit. The visit by the Hawks to the Victor Khanye Licencing department witnessed the arrest of three Victor Khanye Local Municipality Traffic officers and two other alleged unregistered driving school operators. The charges that are being laid against the five range from fraud to corruption. The accused briefly appeared at the Delmas Magistrate Courts on Wednesday the 15th of August following the statutory 48-hour period and their case was remanded to Friday the 17th of August for a bail application.

The four males and two females being charged differing crimes of Corruption and Fraud are Thomas Moremi, Thinus C. Barnard, Essau S. Nonyane, Jones B. Mabena, Lorraine K. Manzini and Maria Ntuli. The news of the arrest sent shivers across the town of Delmas and social media was abuzz with the bulk of the remarks indicating that more needs to be done in Delmas to curb the rot that is being witnessed in the form of corruption. The licencing department in Delmas closed its doors to the public in the wake of the visit as the municipality accessed its readiness position and procedure on how to resume operations following the arrest of some of the employees. The Victor Khanye Municipality was also not in a position to comment on the matter, and declined to comment following requests by Highveld Chronicle.

Speaking in Delmas after the arrest of five people Joseph Mabuza the Director of Communications at the Mpumalanga Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison indicated that the department welcomed the intervention by the Road Traffic Management Corporation and the Hawks. Joseph Mabuza further indicated that there is a need for such an operation to be undertaken through out the Mpumalanga Province as a whole in order to weed the province and the testing stations of unscrupulous officials and driving school operators. Joseph Mabuza continued to state that “remember, we always receive complaints from people that there are people selling drivers licences, so it’s difficult to catch them but through intelligence driven operations like this its easy to identify them”.

Queried on how Delmas was picked for this operation Simon Zwane the spokesperson from the Road Traffic Management Corporation indicated that such operations followed reports and complaints from people. “Here in Delmas people are not even tested for drivers’ licences, you pay and thereafter are just given the drivers licence”, Simon Zwane concluded to indicate that the operation was a success and that these arrests were just the start of the operation, further arrests were to follow. His words were followed on the next day by the summoning and arrest of Maria Ntuli the sixth individual who is a driving school operator in Tsakane to the temporary place of work of the Hawks the Delmas SAPS offices.