Gauteng Business News

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Motoring: Illegal Taxi Conversions–RMI Calls Government to Act


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Jeff Osborne, CEO of the RMI, says one of the most important factors regarding the conversion of vehicles is homologation – an official approval process designed to ensure that converted vehicles meet legislated technical and safety requirements.

Further, Osborne says the person or business that carries out the conversion has to be registered with the Department of Transport (DoT) as a Manufacturer, Importer or Vehicle Builder (MIB).

“Only after inspection and verification of the business by the SA Police Services (SAPS) and the National Regulator of Compulsory Standards (NRCS), will the DoT issue the business with a MIB certificate. The process can take up to eight months,” Osborne says.

He adds that the next step is to homologate a converted vehicle according to Original Equipment manufacturers’ specifications, which must comply with requirements of the Road Traffic Act and Regulations. Then the vehicle is presented to the NRCS and South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) for inspection, analysis and testing – a thorough process that can take up to six weeks to complete.

According to Osborne, only after the inspection process is complete – and provided the vehicle has complied with all requirements – will the NRCS issue a NATIS number for the vehicle specified in the application by the MIB. The NATIS number for the specific model is loaded onto the computerised e-NATIS system administered by the DoT.

“In the licensing process, MIBs are required to lodge with licensing authorities the compliance certificate as well as a roadworthy certificate from a testing station. SAVABA/RMI is concerned at reports that 4 000 vehicles have been illegally converted and yet have been licensed,” says Osborne.

However, he says SAVABA acknowledges that there are serious issues surrounding the interpretation of the Road Traffic Act and its Regulations by some motor industry stakeholders, including traffic law enforcement and the NRCS.

“Requests from the RMI, SAVABA and other organisations for clarification regarding the issues have drawn little response, other than informal discussion,” he says. “In our view, the wording of the Road Traffic Act and Regulations needs to be urgently revised to simplify terminology, making the document easy to interpret. It is the duty of Government to ensure that the legislation is unambiguous, clear, concise and fair.”

He has again called on the authorities to discuss the issue as a matter of urgency.

For more information, please contact:

Jeff Osborne at 011 789 2542

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