Zimbabweans yesterday called for an urgent probe and reshuffle of the entire Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) staff as a way of combating corruption in the department across depots in the country.
The angry calls follow the exposure of massive corruption by The Herald on Tuesday when we ran a story headlined “Criminal gangs take over VID licensing”, in which an undercover reporter was deployed to unearth the scam. Readers concurred that the rot had set in — over many years.
Several attempts at getting the reaction from the Minister of Transport drew blanks as he was unavailable on his mobile phone yesterday. However, ordinary people were outraged.
“Good investigative reporting from The Herald, but this problem has been ongoing for decades,” one reader remarked.
“I can confess that I got my driving licence in exactly the same way and not because I could not drive, but because my driving instructor told me point blank, after I had failed my test for the 3rd time, that VID inspectors wanted a bribe,” he said.
“I paid through the instructor and got my licence. This problem at VID has to be sorted out as a matter of urgency. The corruption there is too deep and the entire staff may need replacing,” said the reader.
Another reader said: “That is true. I tried four times because I was sure I was a good driver and kept being told that I drove on a continuous white line. I was encouraged to pay to save myself time and money.”
Another reader said there was need for a probe and possibly send some corrupt inspectors to jail for deterrence. “The only way to curb corruption is to slap perpetrators with long jail terms. There is need for a serious probe in the department. Those found guilty must be prosecuted and jailed to set a good example to would-be offenders,” said the reader.
Another reader commended The Herald for the investigation adding that there was need to do it in conjunction with security agents to ensure the perpetrators are arrested.
“Congratulations to The Herald on their excellent undercover investigation. Perhaps it should have been done in conjunction with the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) so that evidence could have been gathered and arrests could have been made.
“The only way to curb this rot that is resulting in the deaths of innocent people is to lock up these disgusting criminals for very long jail terms.” Investigations by The Herald revealed that at various depots countrywide, prospective drivers are being made to pay bribes ranging between US$70 and US$100 for road test and RTGS $250 to acquire a learner’s licence without even reading the Highway Code.
Syndicates at the centre of the scam include driving school instructors, Highway Code manual vendors at depot entrances and the VID inspectors.