A further three suspects have been arrested in relation to a R60 million fraudulent traffic licensing swindle at the Mbombela and White River Traffic Departments.

The arrests were confirmed by the Hawks on Wednesday.

Hawks spokesperson, Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi, said the trio, aged between 36 and 42, are from the Mbombela Municipality and the two traffic departments.

They are expected to appear before the Nelspruit Magistrate Court today.

They were arrested during a joint operation by the Hawks Nelspruit-based Serious Commercial Crime Investigation and Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) in Mbombela and White River for fraud, theft and money laundering amounting to R60 million.

“Their arrest followed an investigation carried over by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) in December 2018. It was reported that information was received about employees who were extending expired vehicle discs to the owners of the vehicles.

“During the investigation by the Hawks, it was established that the cashiers colluded with motorists after they saw an opportunity with trucks owing large amounts… [The] officials would manipulate the system and extend the expiration dates of the vehicle licence discs and re-issue a new disc that showed zero balance.”

It is said that truck owners would pay the money meant for the department to the officials for their own benefit, an act described as “money dumping”.

The other six accused are former Department of Community Safety, under the Section Help Desk, Thembi Millicent Motlohi (43); Allman Thabani Masuku (35); Xoliswa Celia Ngcelwane (52); Nompulelo Winnie Nxumalo (44); Agnes Nosipho Ndzinisa (54) and Mbombela Registry authority, Nkosinathi Samuel Gumede (37).

This group was arrested by the Hawks Nelspruit-based Serious Commercial Crime Investigation in a joint operation with the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit (NTACU) and Special Investigation Unit (SIU) on 18 July 2022 for fraud, theft and money laundering. The accused were released on R15 000 bail each.

The case was postponed to 29 September for further investigation.

The latest arrests bring to nine the number of suspects in the case.

More arrests are imminent, said Sekgotodi.

The Provincial Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Major General Zodwa Mokoena, applauded the collaboration of the investigators from different law enforcement agencies, including those who ensured that the investigation was finalised and placed before court.

She further warned those who are still busy with corruption will be dealt with. The General further said that as the Hawks, they will leave no stone unturned.

Read: Major driving licence fraud flagged in South Africa