The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation in the Free State (Hawks) together with Crime Intelligence and Tactical Response Team (TRT) on Tuesday arrested nine (9) Traffic Officials and two civilians for corruption and fraud.

The suspects aged between 31 and 55 were arrested at the Benoni Traffic Department and Secunda Traffic Department during the termination of Project Crocodile which was registered early this year  to curb fraud and corruption at the Benoni and Secunda Traffic Department.

It is alleged that the traffic officials together with their runners allegedly pocketed thousands of rands by accepting bribes from learner drivers who failed their tests and as well as from individuals desperate for learners and drivers without undergoing the testing processes.

The 11 suspects were arrested whilst on duty, seven were arrested in Benoni Traffic Department and two were arrested in Secunda Traffic Department. The runners were arrested at their trading place in Benoni near the testing grounds.

The National Head of the Hawks Lieutenant General Mthandazo Ntlemeza has welcomed the arrests and also vowed that the unit will leave no stone unturned when it comes to fighting serious fraud and corruption.

“How many people are driving with illegal drivers licenses on our roads?  How many people have lost their lives because of greedy government officials who want a quick buck disregarding the safety of road users?  It cannot  be accepted.  We arrested 26 immigrations at Maseru Border officers last month who disregarded the safety of our citizens .  Today this arrests should send a strong message that at as the Hawks we will continue to leave no stones unturned in fighting serious fraud and corruption in government.  Be warned, we will strike when we are least expected and we vow to continue with our work without fear or favour,” said Ntlemeza.

Meanwhile, the suspects are expected to appear before Benoni and Secunda Magistrate Court on Wednesday facing charges of fraud and corruption.