Durban - Confusion reigned on Friday over the KwaZulu-Natal transport department's announcement that it had suspended operations at a Durban roadworthy testing station.
Staff at both the Phoenix and the North Coast testing stations, both on Durban's Aberdare Drive, answered their phones and were taking bookings for roadworthy tests.
On Thursday the department issued a statement saying operations had been suspended at the North Coast Testing Station. However, a female staff member answered the phone. “Yes, we are still open,” she said, sounding surprised.
At the Phoenix Testing Station, where three people were arrested on December 10 for allegedly being involved in the fraudulent issuing of roadworthy certificates, a male employee said bookings could be made until 3pm on Friday.
On Thursday, KwaZulu-Natal transport department spokesman Kwanele Ncalane said the station where operations had been suspended was the same one where a roadworthy certificate was issued for a lorry that killed 24 people in an accident in Pinetown in September 2013. The driver, Sanele Goodness May, is currently on trial, charged with 24 counts of culpable homicide.
An examiner was arrested at the Phoenix Testing Station on December 10, along with a clerk and a third person. Road Traffic Management Corporation anti-corruption unit deputy chief Jody Pillay said May's lorry had been tested there.
However, according to the department's statement the arrests had taken place at the North Coast Testing Station. According to the statement, the examiner allegedly issued a roadworthy certificate while he was supposedly off sick.
At the time of the examiner's arrest, Pillay said it could not be ascertained whether the clerk and the examiner were involved in issuing the roadworthy certificate for May's truck.
He said fraudulent certificates would be issued for as little as R250.
Attempts to obtain comment and clarity from the department on Friday were unsuccessful.