Roadlink ‘faked’ its bus papers

2012-06-02 18:04

Senior official quits after seeing how company forged transport permits

A senior official from bus operator SA Roadlink resigned in disgust just three days after being appointed when he saw how the company forged transport permits.

The official, André Smit (42), was appointed as the company’s national transport manager on Monday.

But on his first day on the job, Smit saw how the operations manager forged the permits in the presence of the company’s owner.

“I accepted the job even though I knew the company has a bit of a reputation.

“I saw it as a challenge to try to turn things around, but I refuse to be involved in this,” Smit said.

On Friday, Gauteng’s department of roads and transport laid criminal charges against SA Roadlink.

But the company has denied the claims, insisting that they obtained the document “legally from the Permit Board”.

According to Smit, many of the company’s buses are not legally allowed to be used.

“Every province issues its own permits for a bus to be used in the province. These people issue temporary permits for themselves,” he said.

He said SA Roadlink forged a letter from the Gauteng roads and transport department so that it looked as if they had written permission for their vehicles to be on the roads.

Smit said on a shelf on the operating manager’s desk, there were many copies of the letter with only the letterhead of the department, a signature and a date stamp (May 8 2012) printed on them.

The letter is photocopied again and again, and then completed with all the details required for a new temporary transport permit.

He smuggled several of these documents, as well as a few which had already been completed, out of the office and handed these to City Press before returning to East London on Wednesday.

He handed in his resignation to SA Roadlink the following morning.

City Press sent the documents to the department for comment and spokesperson Octavia Mamabolo said as soon as they saw them, they immediately called in their legal advisers to press criminal charges against SA Roadlink.

The charge was laid at the Johannesburg Central Police Station on Friday.

“The department can confirm that the documents are indeed fraudulent.

“The industry licensing board (which issued the documents) was dissolved in November 2011 and was replaced by the provincial regulating entity in December 2011, as required by the National Land Transport Act,” Mamabolo said.

“We wish to confirm further that written permission is only issued to minibus taxi operators and not to any other mode of transport.

“The documents are therefore not authentic, and the buses associated with them must not be allowed to be used.”

SA Roadlink’s national sales manager, Nolin Padayachee, said yesterday the document in question was “obtained legally from the Permit Board”.

“This document is not for roadworthy purposes, but for permit substitution.

“We always strive to ensure all our vehicles are in a roadworthy condition for the interest of our company and, more importantly, our passengers,” he said.

“Our proven track record speaks for itself when it comes to safety and danger to our passengers.”

Padayachee said they faced “daily challenges from the authorities, but always make sure we are in compliance”.

“We view these allegations in a serious light, and will be investigating this further and will keep you updated,” he said.

SA Roadlink stats

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