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Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle has SA Roadlink in his sights again, instructing its buses crossing into the Western Cape be “stopped on sight and pulled over”, following allegations of fraud against the company in Gauteng.
Carlisle acted after the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport lodged a complaint of fraud against the bus company after an employee, André Smit, allegedly discovered a scheme to produce fraudulent roadworthy documents. While the department is awaiting the outcome, Smit, 42, who had been at the company for three days, has since resigned.
Carlisle said yesterday: “Every SA Roadlink bus in the province will be stopped on sight and pulled over for a detailed inspection of their operating licence and all relevant transport documents, including vehicle registration and roadworthy and driver licensing. I have been accused of targeting SA Roadlink before. What this shows is that I did not target them enough.”
The bus company had previously been in the spotlight for poor service and defective vehicles. In April two of its buses were pulled over in George because traffic authorities said they were unroadworthy. The traffic officers later discovered one of the buses had been delicensed by authorities a week earlier.
SA Roadlink national sales manager Nolin Padayachee said yesterday it didn’t have a problem with its buses being scrutinised as long as it was not being “victimised” or singled out.
“We have new coaches, three weeks old. If they are pulling every coach for no reason then that would be unfair and an inconvenience for our passengers. They should do that with all the other bus operators. If we are being victimised then we will take it up with his (Carlisle’s) department,” Padayachee said.
He said his ex-employee, Smit from East London, had been training with the company for three days and would have been deployed to Cape Town as a deputy duty supervisor. They would look at the allegations and take it up with their legal team.
Gauteng Road and Transport spokeswoman Octavia Mamabolo said the alleged fraudulent documents had the letterhead of the Gauteng Operating Licensing Board, which had been replaced by the Provincial Regulatory Entity. “We stopped using that letterhead in December. All the permits that would have been issued this year used a new letterhead,” Mamabolo said.
She said the documents had been dated May 2012. “We have not issued permits for new buses this year.”