Permit fraud

Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela, right, at the Joe Gqabi public transport interchange where he appealed to commuters not to put their lives and that of other people in danger by travelling out of the province under false pretences.

Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela is concerned at the casual manner in which some taxi and bus owners are treating the threat of Covid-19.

This follows reports that many minibus taxis are using fraudulent funeral permits to travel to the Eastern Cape.

Mr Madikizela visited Joe Gqabi bus terminus on Friday where he held a meeting with bus owners about the issuing of fraudulent death permits.

After a brief meeting with Western Cape Joe Gqabi Long Distance Bus Association, he spoke to commuters who claimed to be going to a funeral in the Eastern Cape.

He warned them of lying and urged them to be honest for the sake of their health and other people. He also warned the association that having fraudulent permits won’t be tolerated. He believes that somebody is behind the issuing of these permits and needs to be caught soon.

“I hear people talking about fake permits, they are not. They are authentic but are done under the false pretence of a funeral. We are investigating,” he said afterwards.

He appealed to all to be intolerant of fraud and corruption. “We are not saying people cannot go and bury their loved ones but it must be done in a healthy way. We know there are people who use these conditions to go home for sweet nothing.

“We know the province and Gauteng are the epicentres of this virus so we cannot allow people to infect people in other provinces. We urge the bereaved to be picked up from (home) not here at Joe Gqabi or on the streets,” he said.

He also appealed to the association to be on the lookout for those issuing the permits.

Committee member of the bus association and a bus owner, Gordon Makaluza said they were not involved in fraudulent activities and that the government has not helped them during the lockdown.

“This is heartbreaking to us because we are not mentioned in relief in the country. Our buses are standing still. Instalments have to be paid. Licences are expiring but no one cares about us. We are not involved in fraud at all but they come to us,” he said.

Mr Makaluza agreed that it was completely unacceptable that certain people are posing as them, as this puts their credibility at risk.

Asked about a few taxis that were outside with passengers heading to the Eastern Cape, he said the bus owners had no powers to confront them because they were outside their perimeters.

When the MEC left, the conductor was left calling people again, assuring them they should not worry as they had funeral permits to travel to the Eastern Cape.