Roadworthy papers fraud

2013-05-29 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The fraudulent issue of many thousands of roadworthy certificates was revealed in Parliament yesterday.

MPs learnt that vehicle owners can buy a roadworthy certificate for just R1 500, even if the car is a burnt-out wreck. It is a booming business, with the records of one test centre showing it had “passed” 19 348 vehicles in seven months. To process such a workload, the centre would have had to operate nine hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays.

These practices were uncovered in an independent probe, requested in 2011 by former transport minister Sbu Ndebele and the KwaZulu-Natal Transport Department.

They hired a private consultancy, AST Africa, to monitor several vehicle test stations across SA. AST released their findings in February, including photographic evidence of forged documents.

The report also contains evidence of advertisements in regional papers, including Stanger, offering roadworthy certificates for R1 300. AST Africa managed to get a roadworthy certificate for a burnt-out wreck of a Toyota Fortuner without an engine or chassis.

Hawks spokesperson Captain Paul Ramaloko said Gauteng suffered the most from fraudulent issuing of roadworthy certificates and that police have already closed eight vehicle test centres there, with some 50 employees due to appear in court. Some officials had as many as 20 000 charges of fraud against them.

He added that vehicles written off in one province were simply moved to another province, where they would be declared roadworthy again.

Ramaloko said several senior Transport Department officials had also been implicated, with one official in Limpopo already suspended and his assets seized.

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