NC Transport Department Determined to Root Out Corruption and Withdraw Illegally Obtained Operating License’s
The Northern Cape Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison has begun a process to withdraw 316 illegally issued operating licenses following internal investigations that uncovered discrepancies in the number of permits issued.
The Department took a decision to put a moratorium on the issuance of operating licenses from 1 June 2015 to 31 December 2016 to manage a backlog of operating license applications and to ensure that the market was not over saturated to enable it to be profitable for operators and to meet the needs of the public. It was during this process that discrepancies were uncovered.
The Provincial Regulating Entity (PRE), responsible for adjudicating over operating license applications, detected some irregularities while addressing the backlog in the influx of operating licenses issued, as the permits dispatched contradicted the provisions made in the National Land Act, No 5 of 2009. This discovery then led the Department to commence internal investigations on the matter. The moratorium was uplifted on 1 April 2017.
The investigations in the Department, subsequently revealed that 316 applications were approved unlawfully.
To address the illegal issuance of the operating licenses, the Department then evoked Section 79 of the National Land Transport Act which stipulates that any license issued irregularly should be withdrawn by the PRE.
The Department has thus far issued 316 letters through registered mail stating the intention to withdraw the operating licenses to all affected operators. The letters also stated that the permits were unlawfully approved but operators could oppose the intended withdrawal by providing reasons as to why the withdrawal should not be effected.
Applicants have also been awarded an opportunity to reapply for the operating license at no cost and should the application qualify, the permit would be granted accordingly.
Of the 316 letters issued through registered mail, 173 of the letters were returned to the department as they were not collected at the Post Office. The Department has then implemented other avenues to ensure the uncollected letters are delivered to the remaining operators of the illegally issued operating licenses through engagements with taxi associations as some have been identified as members of various associations.
The Department, to date, has distributed 105 withdrawals letters to operators with illegally issued operating licenses, to notify them that their licenses have been withdrawn.
Meanwhile, the implicated official, has been charged and disciplinary proceedings have been instituted internally by the Department and disciplinary hearings are unfolding. The Commercial Crimes Unit of The Hawks has also instituted its own investigations into the matter and the Department has pledged it full support and cooperation during the process.
The Department’s Public Transport Inspectorate (PTI) will continue to enforce compliance and check conditions of operating licenses in the Province, amongst its other functions.