More than 10 00 vehicles will be recalled for roadworthy retesting by the Gauteng Department of Community Safety.
The recall follows Thursday’s arrest of a 38-year-old man at the Lenasia Vehicle Testing Station in Lenasia South who allegedly issued a roadworthy certificate for a silver Volvo XC90 that had been involved in an accident in February, but had yet to be repaired.
It is understood he issued numerous roadworthy certificates to vehicles he had never even seen, let alone tested.
Chris du Preez, head of the department’s fraud, crime and corruption unit, said the man’s fraud was discovered as a result of a tipoff made on Monday.
On Wednesday, police officers visited a Selby, Johannesburg, company which buys accident-damaged cars from an insurance company and then resells the car as is.
To their surprise, the officers discovered that the vehicle was in the same condition as it had been after the accident in February.
There was extensive damage to the front of the car and the airbags had popped out, clearly untouched – in terms of repairs – since then, yet the new owner of the vehicle was allegedly issued a roadworthy certificate by the accused.
Du Preez said the 10 000-odd recalled cars would be retested at government centres.
“We want to ensure that these vehicles are indeed roadworthy to make certain our roads are safe,” Du Preez said.
The man has been charged with fraud, but Du Preez said investigations were still under way and that additional charges may be laid against him at a further stage.
He was expected to appear in the Protea Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Thursday’s arrest was not the first success story to be linked to the department’s Whistle Blower campaign – aimed at rooting out fraud and corruption at learner, driver and vehicle testing stations, and at the call centre – launched two months ago.
On Monday, two managers from the Gauteng Shared Service Centre were suspended on suspicion of “conspiring with certain driving schools to extort money from citizens in return for ‘assistance’ in obtaining licence-testing slots”.
Department of Community Safety spokesperson Mandla Radebe said they were investigating the allegations.
He added that, if found guilty, criminal charges would be laid against “all those implicated in the scam”.