Massive licencing fraud exposed in Oudtshoorn; several high ranking arrests in Hawks sting operation this morning
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Oudtshoorn. 25 June 2012.
15h10. Die Oudtshoorn Courantberig dat die vyf mense wat tydens Vrydag se klopjag op Oudtshoorn en Calitzdorp in hegtenis geneem is, vandag in die hof verskyn het.
Die 2 verdagtes wat in die Calitzdorp-hof voorgekom het is Calvin Esau (30) en Randall van der Berg (29). Hulle is altwee amptenare by die Calitzdorpse lisensiekantore waar leerlinglisensies uitgereik word.
Beide is vrygelaat op R5000-borg. Die saak is uitgestel tot 27 Julie 2012.
Die amptenaar van Oudtshoorn wat gearresteer is, is Cynthia Mani (39). Sy het in die Oudtshoorn Landroshof voorgekom. Sy is vrygelaat op R5000-borg en die saak is uitgestel tot 4 Julie 2012 (sy is tyd gegun om ‘n prokureur te kry).
Lusindiso Mnotoza van Simbela-bestuurskool (21) het in die Oudtshoorn Landroshof voorgekom. Hy is vrygelaat op R5000-borg en die saak is ook uitgestel tot 27 Julie 2012.
Simon Xola Ngcoba (32), ook van ‘n bestuurskool, bly in aanhouding. Sy saak is uitgestel tot 4 Julie 2012 vir ‘n borgaansoek.
Die lisensiekantore op Calitzdorp en Oudtshoorn word beskou as misdaadtonele en is tot verdere kennisgewing gesluit terwyl die ondersoek voortduur.
10h55. Two accused appaered in the Calitzdorp Magistrates Court earlier today and was granted bail of R5,000 each.
Three more accused will appear in the Oudtshoorn Magistrates Court at around 11h00.
09h25. OO has learned that the Oudtshoorn detective branch is rather peeved and affronted that the Hawks are credited with Friday’s raid. Is is claimed, and confirmed with an SAPD source, that Oudtshoorn detectives were responsible for the raid.
Well done, local guys! Well done!
08h25. A fifth person was arrested in Oudtshoorn on Sunday on fraud charges for issuing fraudulent learners and drivers licences. On Saturday, four suspects were arrested at Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn Traffic Department. Two men, aged 29 and 30 years, were arrested at the Calitzdorp traffic department while a 39-year-old woman was arrested at the Oudtshoorn traffic department. The fourth suspect, a driving school instructor, was arrested in Outsdhoorn. They were charged with fraud and corruption. The arrests follow a sting operation led by the Hawks.Western Cape police’s Bernadine Steyn said the fifth suspect was nabbed in Gugulethu. “He was an employee at the driving school situation in St John Street, Oudtshoorn. All the suspects will appear at the Oudtshoorn Magistrate’s Court tomorrow (today).” (EWN)
Oudtshoorn. 22 June 2012.
15h10. Een lid van ‘n bestuurskool op Oudtshoorn; 1 beampte van die lisensiekantore op Oudtshoorn; en 2 beamptes van die lisensiekantore op Calitzdorp is reeds gearresteer.
Klik hier vir die jongste nuus van die Oudtshoorn Courant.
11h45. Die eienaar van Simbela Bestuurskool is in hegtenis geneem en daar is ‘n lasbrief vir die inhegtenisname van die eienaar van Mfundisi, wat glo tans in die Oos-Kaap is.
Die Valke is tans besig by die lisensiekantore op Calitzdorp.
10h10. I spoke to the Oudtshoorn Courant Editor, Hannes Visser, yesterday afternoon at 16h41 by telephone in Johannesburg and then sms’d the Western Cape Minister of Transport & Public Works, Robin Carlisle, yesterday afternoon at 16h48:
Great news, Robin; all mum; go get ’em! Drewan
Carlisle replied, at 16h55:
And bless you Drewan. I won’t forget your patience. R.
Hannes and I had been investigating licencing fraud in Oudtshoorn for months. Hannes stuck to the story indefatigably and deserve the full credit for this, a remarkable news story that he will be breaking online this morning!
OO will publish the link on the Oudtshoorn Courant website as soon as the story is out.
My story starts on March 5, at 12h51, when I wrote to Carlisle:
Dear Mr. Carlisle
In service of responsible, yet free journalism, I submit the report below for your immediate attention and response.
Unless you can provide compelling reasons to delay publication, this story will be published after 14h00 today:
Massive licensing fraud in Oudtshoorn
Illegal driver’s licences sold for R3,000
Rot reaches right to the top
Oudtshoorn. 5 March 2012. The Western Cape Minister of Transport, Robin Carlisle, has sanctioned an intensive investigation into the illegal issuance of driver’s licences at the Oudtshoorn Test Centre adjacent to the aerodrome off Park Road.
OO has learned that the far-reaching investigation implicates high-ranking officials and may lead to the closure of the facility.
Oudtshoorn road users have been irked by numerous driving school vehicles in the Park Road, Vrede Street, Langenhoven Road, High Street, and Voortrekker Road area for some extended time, and after the matter was reported in the local press the Minister announced that the practices of these driving schools were being investigated.
However, it soon became clear that the investigation also targeted the actual issuance of driver’s licences.
OO has been aware of this investigation for weeks and has remained mum to allow the Minister sufficient unhindered space to conclude and act.
But the matter has now taken a dangerous turn for the worse as the investigating officer at Volkswagen Uitenhage last week reported a rising accident claim rate as a direct result of a high number of incompetent drivers, employees of Volkswagen, with illegal driving licenses issued by the Oudtshoorn testing centre.
Significant damage to third party property has also been reported.
The felonious syndicates lures candidates, mostly from the Eastern Cape, to Oudtshoorn, to buy driver’s licences at a reported R3,000 apiece.
The loot is allegedly divided among the driving school operators, and the testing centre and licensing officials.
Syndicates apparently offer a package deal including accommodation, two driving lessons, and a driver’s licence.
Candidates congregate at predetermined off-site locations to be picked up by driver instructors to avoid suspicion of large numbers of applicants at the test centre.
At least one recipient has told an OO reader at the licensing office that he had R3,000 in cash on his person with which to obtain his driver’s licence.
Carlisle needs to conclude his investigation forthwith and deal emphatically with the perpetrators of this quite hideous crime which puts murderous elements on the already perilous roads of our land causing such significant havoc already that a decidedly heightened incidence of vehicular accidents are evident as far as the Nelson Mandela Metro.
Under these alarming circumstances the Mayoral Committee sanctioned a R700,000 testing facility in Dysselsdorp on February 23. The funds are to be provided by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.
Protesting this decision, the Chairman of AfriForum Oudtshoorn, George Kersop, today put Carlisle on terms to stop the illegal issuing of driver’s licenses, and to investigate the new testing centre at Dysselsdorp, and to have the matter resolved without delay.
Hector Eliot, Carlisle’s savvy and mavin Head of Ministry, called me within minutes of the message and explained that the matter was being attended to and that a sting operation was due and that publication would compromise the work of months.
Therefore, at 13h52, I wrote to Carlisle:
Mr Hector Eliott did provide compelling, if discombobulating reasons not to publish.
I’ll revisit the issue in a week.
Two weeks later, on March 20, at 13h43, I wrote Eliott:
It has been 15 days since our 5 March conversation about the licencing fraud.
Are we closer, do you think, to a conclusion?
I’m all for the comprehensive coup de théâtre where the entire thieving caboodle is rounded up in one swoop, but I do not trust to this possibility.
My sole concern is that Oudtshoorn be relieved of the shammers soonest.
Pray let us have an update.
Also, let’s not be so patient!
Let’s fix this thing!
Eliott replied at 16h06:
Thank you again for your patience in this regard.
We can’t dictate the timetable of a Hawks investigation and I won’t have any solid information until at least after the next task team meeting (which is Tuesday).
Patience is absolutely key in snaring as many of the criminals as possible and meeting our aim of obtaining custodial sentences for the officials involved.
However, Traffic Law Administration (under which the Vehicle Inspectorate falls), like the Minister and I can safely say everyone on this email, is keenly aware of and shares your concerns.
We are therefore going to approach Provincial Traffic to have them pay visits to the driving schools in question. They will check for accreditation and for vehicle roadworthiness. They will not visit the DLTC.
By way of copy I am asking Steven Otter, the Ministry’s Media Liaison Officer, to co-ordinate with his counterpart at Community Safety and with yourself and Mr Visser. A story on this operation from yourselves will need to avoid mention of possible fraud and corruption at the DLTC and can serve a dual purpose as a diversion for the main operation.
On March 21, at 13h26, I tried again:
I can not for a moment believe that the kingpins remain unaware of the investigation and impendent action.
Methinks the “authorities” are overplaying its collective hand and that time has run out for some peripeteia.
The investigators need to act expeditiously for the benefit of the Oudtshoorn community, even if some “grander scheme” is compromised.
On March 25, at 18h50, I wrote Carlisle:
I have attempted to reach you since Thursday.
I have followed up on Steven’s message “to contact Gerald Bekker from Traffic” and have confirmed that Provincial Traffic is indeed paying visits to the driving schools in question and checking for accreditation and for vehicle roadworthiness.
You can hardly have heard of any small reputation which I might conceivably possess, or you would not imagine that I am prepared not to speak to this “very, very, very cunning plan”, such as Blackadder never dared…
In an astonishing campaign of such scintillating acuity as to dazzle, training flatbeds are now being stopped and instructor certification demanded of the hapless tutors.
The inspiration is reminiscent of the moment Sir Rodney Tricycle finally had it with walking.
The vivification is as keen as discovering that, due to some administrative error, the new boy in the dorm is actually a girl with “breasts like two young roes that are twins” to paraphrase the ancient author of The Song of Solomon; a sense of adventure; and no pants!
Fuddled but transiently, the coaches produce the required certificates within a day or so, ostensibly to the enthralment of the brainboxes running local traffic.
Ye gods and faeries!
I suppose traffic officials have never been known to represent of the backbone of local Mensa Clubs, but this particular venture strikes me as especially anserine.
Under circumstances such as may produce illegal, albeit official, drivers’ licences, would not you think it probable that some lesser documents such as certificates to train drivers may also, somehow, be confected?
The mental élan of this ingenious scheme bedazes.
It is time to stop dillydallying and shillyshallying. It is time to strike expeditiously to rid Oudtshoorn, and the Western Cape, and the land, of this scourge of illicit licences!
The perpetrators need not be caught red-handed, or, as our local cops are so xyresic, in flagrante delicto – a paper trail should be more than sufficient to bring the buggers to book.
The matter will not bear further delay!
Verily, individuals capable of fixing this elaborate licencing fraud may be credited with sufficient qui vive to conclude that something is afoot when of a sudden their confederates are pressed for accreditation documentation and their vehicles inspected for roadworthiness… duh!?
Act, and have your agents act with immediate force and bring this investigation, to a head within days!
This is not a difficult decision to make; it simply needs making!
And again, on April 23, at 18h57:
My initial email, of March 5, in this matter refers.
I have accommodated your investigation at the tangible risk of sacrificing an exclusive, albeit with Hannes Visser of the Oudtshoorn Courant, on yet another Oudtshoorn clanger.
And, to my personal horror, I have withheld critical information from my readers and the people of Oudtshoorn.
I am ad idem with the Grand Old Lady – not amused, dear sir!
For my trouble I was on Saturday confirmed, in matters unrelated, by your colleagues, Theuns Botha and Anton Bredell, as an irresponsible journalist.
The licencing fraud was distinctly mentioned during a meeting on Saturday with at least eight local opinion formers and the matter has been reduced, for all practical purposes, to common knowledge.
The ineffable irony that portrays me as unreliable, can, in the circumstances, only be lost on the thickest.
I have spoken to Hannes and we have agreed, even now, to play ball.
But better management of this matter is demanded, methinks… What are the cops up to!?
And by the pantheons, what are Ministers doing, if not concluding pressing matters expeditiously!
Ye gods and faeries!
On 24 April, at 09h46, Eliott replied:
Dear Mr Baird,
I have had sight of the signed authority for the operation in Oudtshoorn to be carried out by the Hawks. It will occur any day now.
I ask that you please continue not to report on it.
I fired back, at 09h49:
The point, dear Hector, is not my reporting “on it”, but the fact that “it” is now common knowledge!
On April 29, at 19h25, I approached Eliott again:
You write: “I saw the document at the end of last week so I expect action any day.”
Its been 9 days since “the end of that last week” and nothing has transpired.
You will pardon my skepticism, I hope.
Something more tangible and a report on the sighting of documents is required.
Carlisle responded, on May 2, at 05h34:
I share your frustration.
And I replied, at 05h37:
Thank you for the reply, Robin… We now need to press the matter. Who else can be roused, please?
On May 2 I had a nasty experience and wrote Carlisle at 14h57:
I had occasion, at 13h45, to fetch my grade 11 daughter from school as her scooter is being serviced.
I have not done so for the better part of a year.
To my horror, two flatbed training vehicles held up traffic at the intersection closest to the main school gate; one stalled halfway through the crossing.
I went cold.
This is the route my child uses twice daily!
A legitimately licenced teenager on a legitimately licenced, roadworthy 125cc two wheeler sharing tarmac with first time drivers under the supervision of unskilled instructors in vehicles of uncertain repair!
I now no longer speak as a journalist or a concerned resident, but as a father: End this outrage NOW, Robin!
Get the “Hawks” – I daresay “Dead Parrots”, in deference to Monty Python, is a more apt monikor – to execute their “sting” within the next 36 hours, seeing that they have been ready since April 20, as I will splash this licencing fraud scandal by 07h00 on Friday.
The matter will bear no further delay!
I shall be irresponsible in postponing any further the exposure of criminal behaviour threatening the very lives of residents.
Carlisle called virtually immediately, and wrote at 15h21:
I have spoken to Drewan, who has promised to keep his peace.
On May 16, at 09h47, I reported a specific incident to Carlisle:
I have renewed my MV licence this morning.
The fraud at the licencing office is common knowledge – it is joked about in the lines, for crying in a bucket!
But we wait for the “sting” operation by the Dead Parrot Society arrogating as hawks.
Ye gods and faeries, we are in trouble in this land, to be sure!
Frankly, I am not even going to bother with a story that has been old news for months.
I may want to publish a reflection on the general state of governance and law enforcement. Remember, we’ve had the DPS in Oudtshoorn Municipality since February 2011…
I suggest, Robin, that you too have been had by the fecklessness and incompetence of organs of state supposed to “support”.
Eliott responded, at 10h10:
Dear Mr Baird,
Noted with thanks.
June 8 was a particularly busy correspondence day.
At 09h02 I wrote:
Both Die Hoorn and the Oudtshoorn Courant this week reported civil irritation with local driving school activities, related to the licencing fraud which law enforcers seem to think is unknown by us locals.
Heroin is sold in front of the Police Station and law enforcement considers that the people of Oudtshoorn probably think that the Police is providing Panado to the impecunious!?
We are not all of us village idiots here in the heart of the Klein Karoo and your reputation as one of Mrs Z’s best is being harmed by the ineptitude of others.
Without compromising this badly kept secret “investigation”, you can at least order, with immediate eggect, that the driving schools not be allowed to pass by a primary school and next to a high school – during opening and closing times!
The local Traffic Chief, Thembuxolo Tyatya, claims that it is the perpetrators’ “Consitutional Right” (capitals!) to drive where they will.
And get the Dead Parrots Society, officially known as the “Hawks” to get their feathers groomed and have the licence criminals removed expeditiously!
In their defense I hasten to add that the Parrots hold very regular meetings!
Oudtshoorn will no longer bear the brunt of governmental lethargy and rank incompetence.
Have the criminals removed or I will blow the whistle as I threatened on March 5 (three months ago!) when I was first asked to delay publication in the name of a soonest fix.
At 11h40 Eliott responded:
Dear Mr Baird,
Steven Otter no longer works at the Ministry.
This was no good, and at 11h50 I wrote:
Ye gods, Hector, this critical snippet constitutes a deserving response to my concerns!?
Carlisle wrote at 11h50:
Have had our first stings.
Keep troth, my friend.
Hector, at1 2h40:
Dear Mr Baird,
Unless you have been seized by some form of fugue, associated perhaps with the rarefied air of the Karoo, or perchance the giddying prospect of an approaching weekend of rest or frivolity, you will no doubt by now have noted that Minister of Transport and Public Works, Robin Carlisle, to whom your email was directed, has addressed your concerns.
The Minister’s chief henchman, to whom your email was copied, pointing out that a sub-henchman, also copied, is no longer in the Minister’s employ, is as entirely appropriate as the chronology is irrelevant.
This was good and I wrote, at 13h04:
That’s better, Hector, it shows a fighting spirit!
But my concerns have not been addressed dear sir!
137 – 137! – passes in front of a primary school every day! Not addressed.
“Training” on a main access route to a high school during start and closing times every day! Not addressed.
Three months of waiting for the Parrots! Not addressed.
And by the by, the local traffic cops can’t do nuttin’ ’cause the required regulations have not been promulgated by either the DA (-2010) nor the ANC (2010-)!
This matter has been poorly handled. And this last sentence sees me at my amicable best.
Hector rose to the occasion, at 13h18:
Dear Mr Baird,
Aha, I see you have emerged as sharp as ever from whatever it was that appeared to have briefly gripped your senses. Perhaps something more akin to a passing malaise than a fugue? My relief, sir, at any rate, is profound.
The point the Minister is making is that patience is the key. We have detailed information on the very nasty surprises a wide range of people, and I use the term lightly, sir, are going to get.
And now if you will excuse me I must scuttle away to my duties.
I responded, at 13h23:
We shall, dear sir, still raise a tumbler to both the vindication of our virgin streets and sprightly correspondence!
Begging, sir, to remain your humble servant while posessing mine soul in longanimity
And Hector again, at 13h46:
Normally my chains extend only as far as is needed to hourly strike the great bell at the top of 9 Dorp St, but in the case of the conclusion of Op Test-tube in Oudtshoorn, perhaps the Minister will make an exception.
On June 18 I had enough and wrote to Carlilse at 16h28:
In deference to Agur the son of Jakeh: “There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:
The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid…” (Prov 30.i; xviii-ixx)
And behold, a fifth unto me – the actions of a Hawk upon its prey.
Yet another agent will now be introduced in an attempt to undo this Gordian knot!
Pathetic and piteous, Robin!
Nobody is going to take action unless this nest of iniquity is exposed in the media.
Oudtshoorn suffers by the ineptitude of the Hawks; the media is prevented to effect its duties by the cack-handedness of cretins.
Ye gods and faeries, man – this is intollerable!
Carlisle responded, at 16h39:
I will however get the bastards.
And indeed – Robin Carlisle this morning did get the bastards! Well done Robin, well done!