A small internet cafe in the Pretoria CBD was raided by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) on Friday and two men were arrested for allegedly printing fake licence discs.
Situated next to the City of Tshwane’s municipal office on Thabo Sehume Street, scores of vehicle licence permits were found on the premises by the South African Police Service’s organised crime unit and Gauteng traffic compliance unit.
Some of the documents, apparently used to clone licence discs, were recovered in dustbins. Four computers were also seized. RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said a tip-off was received and undercover investigators followed up on it.
“Our investigators were promised they can get their vehicle documents if they paid a certain amount of money.
“They went to the place yesterday. We have been keeping this internet cafe under our radar for about two weeks after following up on information,” he said.
One of the accused claimed he owned a business that registered vehicles on behalf of car dealerships in Gauteng, but he walked out in handcuffs after failing to provide proof of his company. He had scores of licence and permit application forms, which he claimed he bought from “government”.
Copies of altered BEE certificates were also found on the computers. Zwane said the raid was part of the RTMC’s anticorruption crackdown, dubbed Operation Domino, to get rid of unroadworthy vehicles during the pre-festive season. “We are intensifying this operation so we can remove as many causes of accidents as possible.
“We know that corruption and roadworthiness play a critical role in the number of people who die on the roads.”
The two men were taken to Pretoria Central police station to face charges related to fraud. They are expected to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court tomorrow. Last month, another internet cafe in the Johannesburg CBD, where alleged fraudsters were using the same method, was also searched by RTMC, Zwane said.
“We found [similar] documents there and arrests were made.”