The City of Cape Town destroyed almost 50 unclaimed amaphela taxis on Monday.
In some cases the taxis had been at the Maitland pound for up to five years. The unroadworthy sedans were impounded between 2010 and 2012 and left unclaimed by its owners despite attempts to contact them, the City said in a statement. According to the National Road Traffic Act, vehicles may be disposed of if left abandoned at traffic premises for more than 21 days. Vehicles can be auctioned, but a contractor appointed to crush and compact the vehicles disposed of the unroadworthy ones.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said by law, this could have been done a long time ago. “But it hasn’t been a priority until now, because space at the pound has not been an issue,” he said. “In fact, we used to have a 90% collection rate of public transport vehicles. However, I think the impoundment release fees have started taking a toll, because now there is a full pound, which means fewer vehicles are being collected.”
This “very expensive lesson” will hopefully make more public transport operators toe the line, Smith said. There were currently 547 minibus and sedan taxis at the Maitland and Ndabeni pounds. “We will be disposing of more vehicles in the coming months. Unroadworthy vehicles impounded in 2013 and remain uncollected, will be next on the crushing list. The city is also planning its next auction for November, where both private and public transport vehicles will be disposed of.”
The impoundment release fee for a vehicle where the driver does not have an operating licence was R7 000. Should the vehicle be impounded again, the release fee was R10 000, while a third impoundment attracted a R15 000 fee. In cases where vehicles were impounded because the driver acted contrary to the operating licence, the release fee was R2 500. If impounded for a second and third time, the fees were R5 000 and R10 000 respectively.
According to the city, 788 public transport vehicles were impounded between January and August this year for operating licence transgressions and for being unroadworthy.