Former driving licence examiner loses bid to get dismissal overturned

23 August 2022 - 13:59
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The licence examiner was dismissed following an undercover operation. Stock photo.
The licence examiner was dismissed following an undercover operation. Stock photo.
Image: GALLO IMAGES

The labour court has dismissed an application by a former Greater Tzaneen municipality’s driver’s licence examiner seeking to review and set aside an arbitration award after his dismissal.

The arbitrator found that his dismissal by the municipality was substantively and procedurally fair.

He lost his job after an undercover police sting into allegations of fraud and corruption in the issuing of drivers’ licences.

He wanted the court to set aside the arbitration award issued in October 2019, on the grounds that the arbitrator committed a reviewable irregularity by ignoring that he had been found guilty in his disciplinary hearing of a gross dereliction of duty rather than corruption.

He also argued that the arbitrator committed a reviewable irregularity in his assessment of the evidence, with the consequence that his award is not one to which a reasonable decisionmaker could come to on the available evidence.

At the hearing, an undercover police officer identified as Wendy testified that she had applied for a learner’s licence and spoke to the examiner who then explained the process. She paid R2,000 and it was explained to her that the examiner would switch answer sheets and complete the sheet that contained her details.

The undercover police officer testified that she left her answer sheet on the desk, having shaded in answers in pencil. The former examiner was the only person who remained in the examination room.

“Wendy was advised that she had passed the exam despite the fact that she had not circled in pen a single answer. There was further evidence that an answer to only 35 questions would mean that it was impossible for a candidate to pass,” read the judgment.

Judge André van Niekerk said in his recent ruling the applicant’s evidence was to deny any knowledge of the witness Wendy and that he had completed the test on her behalf.

The arbitrator had found that it was not in dispute that Wendy had applied for a code 14 licence and that a learner answering only 35 questions of a total of 68 could not possibly pass the test.

The judge said the arbitrator did not commit any reviewable irregularity in his assessment of the evidence.

“The integrity of the entire system of licensing drivers is placed at risk when examinations are not properly conducted and drivers’ licences issued to candidates who have failed to meet the prescribed requirements,” said Van Niekerk.

The court dismissed the application with costs.

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