South Africa

Traffic department official arrested for assisting syndicate with dodgy vehicle documents

Fraud Arrest

An investigation by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation unit led to the arrest of an Alberton Traffic Department employee.

Petros Vusumuzi Mahlaba was arrested on 14 June and will face charges of fraud and contravention of the National Road Traffic Act, Act 93 of 1996.

He is alleged to have improperly altered the registration details of a vehicle used by a criminal syndicate targeting essential infrastructure.

Siphoning fuel from a Transnet pipeline

The 44-year-old Mahlaba is alleged to have assisted men who were caught draining fuel from a Transnet pipeline near Nigel in October 2023.

When the men were arrested, the truck they were using was impounded, with the Hawks’ investigation tracing the truck to an owner in Newcastle.

“The investigation team further discovered that the syndicate fraudulently changed the registration number without the knowledge of the owner,” explained Hawks spokesperson Warrant Officer Thatohatsi Mavimbela.

ALSO READ: RTMC busts Meyerton DLTC scandal: 7 officials nabbed over licences fraud

A further probe by the dedicated investigator found that Mahlaba had implemented and authorised the transaction by changing the registration number of the truck by forging signatures as well as using a copy of the owner’s Identity document,” Mavimbela added.  

Mhlaba appeared at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on 18 June and the matter has been postponed to 25 June for his bail application.

Free State official guilty of licence fraud

In a separate incident, a Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) licencing official and a driving school operator were convicted on corruption charges in April.

ALSO READ: RTMC condemns corruption, calls for tougher sentences

Licence examiner, 46-year-old Sipho Malinga, and 31-year-old driving school operator Doctor Moloi both pled guilty. They were handed suspended five and six-year prison terms, or fines of R11 600 and R12 000, respectively.

Additionally, the pair were required to pay R2000 to the Criminal Asset Recovery account.

RTMC’s Simon Zwane expressed their dissatisfaction with the sentence, stating, “Fraud and corruption at licencing centres produce unfit drivers that are behind the devastation of road crashes and fatalities on the country’s roads. Therefore, individuals behind this crime deserve heavy sanctions by our courts.