Publication: Sapa Issued: Cape Town Date: 2004-10-14 Reporter: Sapa

DA to Push for Investigation into Driver's Licence Contract





Cape Town

Date 2004-10-14


The Democratic Alliance says it will call for a full investigation into the department of transport's renewal of a contract for the production of credit-card driver's licences with a company that is part of the Schabir Shaik consortium.

"The Democratic Alliance is shocked and horrified to learn the department of transport has renewed the tender for the production of credit card licences to PRODIBA (Pty) Ltd," the party's transport spokesman Stuart Farrow said in a statement on Thursday.

The renewal extended the original contract for a further 5 years, and was awarded on condition the contractor had complied with certain conditions and delivery requirements during the first phase.

"Yet the first phase of licence production by PRODIBA, which commenced on March 1, 1998, has been dogged with controversy."

This included:

-- allegations of kickbacks by PRODIBA to the then minister of transport Mac Maharaj, which were still being investigated by the Scorpions;

-- an announcement the cards could no longer be used as a valid form of identification;

-- the discovery that the cards could be easily counterfeited;

-- long delays in processing;

-- numerous errors occurring on the licences, and great difficulties in having these corrected; and

-- a lack of linkages to home affairs' database to record deaths, or drivers leaving the country, and cancel these licences.

Farrow said it was quite clear PRODIBA should not have been re-awarded the contract.

"All of these issues have been raised with the minister (Transport Minister Jeff Radebe) and the portfolio (committee) chairperson (Jeremy Cronin) for discussion prior to re-awarding the tender to PRODIBA, but to no avail.

"The DA will not let the matter rest. A full investigation will again be called for, when Parliament re-opens, as part of our oversight role," he said.

With acknowledgements to Sapa.