Spokesperson of the Department of Transport Laveshya Khoja informed this information Daily Maverick There were concerns about the number of people involved in the illegal conversion of vehicles. They ranged from vehicle financiers to dealerships and taxi operators.
In 2005, hundreds of Toyota Quantums were illegally converted into minibus taxis – conversions that did not comply with safety standards for vehicles designated to carry multiple passengers.
According to the Department of Transport, in 2008, unscrupulous entrepreneurs discovered that panel vans were much cheaper than legitimate taxi vehicles.
The government decided to scrap the panel vans after numerous complaints that they were illegal, unsafe and contributing to road accidents.
In a 2019 report, the Public Protector recommended that the department ensure that any Toyota panel vans that have been converted into minibus taxis carry passengers and ply on country roads.
Statistics from the department indicate that of the 1,226 vehicles identified for scrapping, 588 were scrapped by the end of October 2022. A total of 638 illegally converted panel vans are still due for scrapping.
Bobby Gage, head of the National Motorists Association of South Africa, said this information Daily Maverick That economic instability is probably because car owners are reluctant to surrender their vehicles for scrapping.
“Due to the current economic situation in South Africa, taxi owners will not come forward. Also, if they leave their vehicle without getting a new taxi, they are likely to lose their permit for the route.
“Taxi associations also work against each other because of routes, and they won’t give it up for another association,” says Gage.
“They argue that the scrapping allowance (currently R141,100) is not enough compensation, as they claim they were paid more for the car,” Khoja said.
“Some owners do not have valid operating licenses or permits, which they need to qualify for scrapping,” Khoja added.
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Daily Maverick Asked to see the illegal conversion report, Khoja said the department did not have this documentation.
“The rollover and other tests were conducted by the South African Bureau of Standards and the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) as the relevant authorities.”
The NCRS said the “Compliance Determination Report” was submitted during the evaluation of the application for approval of retro-fitted structures in illegally converted quantum panel vans.
“NRCS does not conduct testing during the approval process, but conducts inspection and evaluation of evidence of conformity submitted by applicants. Therefore, we cannot claim ownership of the ‘Compliance Determination Test Report’ as it was conducted by a third party and paid for by the client, not NRCS,” said NRCS Acting Chief Operations Officer, Duncan Mutengwe.
Panel vans not surrendered for scrapping will be confiscated by the authorities End of January.
Briefing the Transportation Portfolio Committee on the Public Protector’s 2020 report, NRCS outlined its role in the process:
- Assessing and recommending Manufacturers, Importers and Manufacturers (MIB) applications for registration with the Department of Transport.
- Inspection of registered MIB at least once a year.
- Recommend suspension and cancellation of registered MIBs that do not comply with the Act.
- Issue Model Number (Natis Model Number) to vehicle models produced, manufactured or imported in compliance with all relevant laws
- Issue certificates of compliance for minibuses and minibus models authorized to operate for award – operating under the terms of the National Land Transport Act (NLTA).
- Issue a letter of authority for vehicles manufactured, imported or manufactured for personal use (MIBs are not required to be registered under the terms of the (NLTA).
The Public Protector found fault with the work of the NRCS, ruling that the NRCS failed to take effective and efficient measures to ensure that all MIBs comply with the mandatory specifications envisaged by the Transport Act to limit illegal conversion of goods-in-transport. Toyota Quantum panel vans in minibus taxis carrying passengers.
The NRCS has also failed to take action to stop the practice of illegally converting Toyota Quantum panel vans into taxis, which Toyota South Africa denies as the manufacturer of these vehicles.
The findings concluded that NRCS should have applied Section 17 of the Transportation Act to inspect, search, and impound the illegally converted Toyota Quantums.
“These illegal conversions have far-reaching impact on the safety of passengers and the vehicles are becoming a serious danger to the public,” Khoja said.
“The impact of this transgression is worst considering what it has already done to some car owners, passengers and regulatory agencies affected by the vehicle regulations and its funding,” said NRCS’s Mutengwe. DM