'Forgotten' car has huge parking bill

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IOL mot pic jan7 ST OR Tambo Renault INLSA The Renault Clio parked at OR Tambo International Airport. Picture: Tiro Ramatlhatse

Short-term parking at OR Tambo International Airport is set to cost a Johannesburg man a whopping R42 000, after, he claims, his friend forgot to move the car for him.

The ticket is for more than the book value of his 2001 Renault Clio. And to add insult to injury, the Ekurhuleni metro police department has slapped him with a R500 fine for failing to renew his licence disk.

Desmond Grootboom, an entrepreneur who lives in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, was shocked when The Star contacted him to check if he knew that his car had been left at the airport.

“Oh, is it still there?”

Grootboom said he left his car at the OR Tambo parking lot on November 8, 2011 and gave his friend a set of keys and the parking ticket.

“I got such a shock when you told me, I phoned my friend,” said Grootboom.

When he checked, his friend apparently told him he had lost the keys but didn't contact Grootboom about this.

“I never checked with him,” said Grootboom, despite his car having been there for a year and two months.

Messages are inscribed in the thick layer of dust which covers the car.

“Dylan was here”, “Lerato 2012/10/08” and the dusty-car classic, “wash me please” now adorn the windows and body of the car.

The Airports Company SA refused to give details on when the car was left in the parking lot or how much the ticket would cost, despite every car's licence plate being recorded on entry to the airport's parking lot.

“The information is between Acsa and the vehicle owner. Both the date and time have been recorded as per our licence plate number recognition system,” said Acsa spokeswoman Unathi Batyashe-Fillis.

Based on the airport's current price of R100 for the first 24 hours and then R50 for every 12 hours thereafter, Grootboom's ticket stands at R42 700 as of Monday, 7 January.

A second-hand Renault dealer said the trade-in value for the 2001 car would be about R20 000, but online second-hand sales average around R40 000.

“I'll have to negotiate with the guys at the airport.”

Grootboom hopes to return to Johannesburg in a week or two to try to resolve the problem.

He'll have another problem on his hands when he gets here, as a ticket for R500 issued by the EMPD can be seen placed under his windscreen wipers.

“You have committed an offence by: fail to renew licence disk,” reads the fine, which was issued on November 29, 2012 last year. The licence on the car actually expired on August 31, 2011, more than two months before Grootboom said he left his car at the airport.

Grootboom said he did not know that his licence had expired or that he had received the EMPD fine.

This fine will not increase and Grootboom just needs to pay it and renew his disk when he returns to Johannesburg. - The Star



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