GEORGE NEWS - Two George-based Provincial Traffic Officers, Benzil Ramati, known as the nemesis of bus and transport operators in the Southern Cape, and his colleague Frickel Terblanche have been arrested on charges of corruption.
The arrests where made at the George Provincial Traffic Department in York Street late Monday afternoon.
Minister Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety said the arrests followed a thorough investigation by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in collaboration with his department.
Both Ramati and Terblanche face charges of corruption for allegedly soliciting bribes from motorists.
Ramati was taken to the Athlone holding cells in Cape Town, and was to appear in the Athlone Magistrate's Court, Wednesday 27 March while Terblanche was granted bail of R3 000 in the George Magistrate's Court on Tuesday. His case was postponed to 24 April.
Ramati's reputation for zero-tolerance when it comes to bus and truck roadworthiness has made him notorious in transport circles country wide and many transport companies have accused him of waging a vendetta.
Ramati have on numerous occasions clashed with local politicians and municipals officials and was recently in the news when he fined Eden DA councillor Tertuis Simmers for driving without a license.
Plato said the allegations of corruption were brought to the attention of the Provincial Traffic Department when members of the public came forward, alleging that the two officers were soliciting bribes from motorists. "Kenny Africa, Provincial Traffic Chief, immediately alerted the SAPS, after which the matter was thoroughly investigated and they were able to make the arrests. I welcome these arrests and want to send a strong message to all other employees that corruption will not be tolerated by the Western Cape Government."
Africa also drove to George to participate in the arrests, investigation and confiscation of evidence at the local offices.
Plato made it clear that the Western Cape government has zero tolerance towards corruption. "We have many honest and hardworking employees and the corrupt deeds of a few will not be tolerated. If you are caught you will be arrested and the law will take its course."
Africa said he is deeply disappointed by the conduct of the two officers. "I will not allow a few rotten apples to tarnish the good work of all the honest and hardworking employees in the Western Cape Traffic Services."
Plato urged people with information about irregularities in the Western Cape Government to report the matter to the Forensic Audit Component of the Provincial Administration.
"This includes instances of corruption, fraud, theft and misuse of government property."
The George Herald received a tip that there was something amiss at the Provincial Traffic Offices in George, when passersby saw Africa, the former George Traffic Chief, and several police vehicles in front of the offices, shortly after 13:00 on Monday. Visiting the scene, George Herald saw traffic officers driving into the parking area, getting out of their vehicles and pacing up and down, visibly aware that Africa's visit wasn't a friendly one.
Africa told the George Herald yesterday that the investigation is still in progress and that he could not rule out the possibility of more arrests.
Provincial Traffic Officers drove into the parking area and walked around, visibly aware that the Provincial Traffic Chief, Kenny Africa and the police's visit on Monday wasn't just a friendly one. Photo: Christo Vermaak
ARTICLE: CHRISTO VERMAAK, GEORGE HERALD JOURNALIST