DRIVING Schools which connive with Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) officials to fraudulently issue drivers’ licences, risk being closed, a cabinet minister has warned.
Addressing owners of driving schools from Matabeleland region in Bulawayo on Thursday, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Obert Mpofu said the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) would not hesitate to deregister errant driving schools and instructors engaging in corrupt activities.
“I’m concerned about the alleged corruption between driving school instructors and VID officials. A driver who obtains a licence through fraudulent means is dangerous,” said Mpofu.
“My ministry will never tolerate corruption by anyone at any level. I now know that driving school instructors have been cited in this malpractice following the recent newspaper report of a $1,000 fraud case involving one of the instructors in Harare.
“Anyone who is found guilty of such an offence shall be deregistered automatically.”
The minister said TSCZ was empowered by Statutory Instrument 309 of 1985 to both register and de-register driving schools and their instructors.
He challenged the meeting and members of public in general to expose all forms of graft.
“We’ve received a number of complaints that we’re currently dealing with. If you see corrupt activities, report to the ministry or relevant issues. We don’t want rumours but bring us evidence and we will act upon it,” Mpofu said.
“We’ve spoken publicly against corruption. The police commanders have spoken against corruption so if you see these junior officials engaging in corruption tell us. These days there are smart phones, take pictures or videos and bring us that evidence.”
Mpofu said he had been informed that TSCZ would soon release a new driving course that will aptly address the need for instructors to shape and develop the character and attitudes of drivers.
“The undesirous conduct by some drivers, your products, can be attributed to the kind of training you discharge to them. We want you to produce responsible drivers as envisaged by our statutes and public in general,” he said adding, “This isn’t a request but a requirement that you should stick to agreed training standards in order to produce the desired outcomes.”
Mpofu said negligent driving was responsible for 95 percent of road accidents and deaths. “When road carnage continues unabated I take full responsibility as the minister of transport. I’m therefore here today to express government’s grave concern on the deterioration of driving on our roads,” he said.
“I’m also here today to reinforce government’s desire which is enshrined in the Zim-Asset to see an overall decline in road accidents.”
Mpofu said government would tighten regulations applicable to driver training schools and review them in order to achieve intended results.
He urged operators to form a fully fledged driving schools’ association to ensure compliance with the statutes and standards of driver training.
The minister chided kombi drivers for negligent and reckless behaviour and blamed driving schools for failing to mould them.
He recalled a day when he said he was blocked by kombi drivers at a section of 6th Avenue in Bulawayo who were busy chatting in the middle of the road.
Mpofu said his ministry was working on creating a computerised network connecting his ministry, VID, Zinara and Central Vehicle Registration and driving schools to coordinate the operations of the organisations.