About 5092 licences were cancelled after they were found to have been be issued fraudulently, the transport department said on Wednesday.

Spokesperson Collen Msibi said the fake licences were among 7,4 million investigated by Special Investigating Unit (SIU) in a countrywide operation.

“The department commissioned the SIU in February 2005 as part of its anti-corruption strategy to root out corruption in the issuing of licences,” he said.

“To date, more than 1269 private individuals and 82 corrupt officials have also been arrested.” The aim of the operation was to identify and cancel invalid licences.

“We want to clamp down on corrupt individuals and officials who are participating in fraudulent activities within driving licence testing centres,” Msibi said. Earlier in the day, the SIU arrested four people in Velddrif in the Western Cape for issuing fraudulent licences.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Andre Traut said a traffic official was taken into custody at his home in Laaiplek, and an administrative clerk at the Velddrif municipal offices. “Two other men were arrested at their homes in Mitchells Plain and Hopefield,” said Traut.

The last two men were believed to have acted as agents for officials, and apparently recruited prospective applicants to purchase fake licences.

“It was not yet known how many licenses were issued. However, those found to have been illegally obtained would be invalid,” said Traut.

The men were charged with fraud and expected to appear in the Vredenburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday. – Sapa