Fraud probe underway following release of Toyota Quantum report
Transport Minister Blade Nzimande has noted the Public Protector’s findings and welcomes the remedial actions following an investigation into the illegal conversion of goods carrying Toyota Quantum panel vans into passenger carrying mini bus taxis to transport members of the public.
The report was released on 28 March 2019 by the Public Protector.
“This report by the Public Protector vindicates us because as the department, we always held the view that the conversion of the panel vans for the purpose of carrying passengers was illegal,” said Nzimande.
The Minister said that the only conversions or modifications that are lawful are those done by manufacturers, builders and importers, who are duly authorised by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) of the South African Bureau of Standards.
“When the Department of Transport was made aware of the illegal conversion in the course of 2009, the department informed all agencies responsible for law enforcement to impound all the illegally converted vehicles,” Nzimande said.
The Department of Transport will immediately bring to the attention of all relevant stakeholders the outcome and implications of these remedial actions, including the taxi industry, provinces, vehicle manufacturers, vehicle financiers as well as the Road Traffic Management Corporation, which is the custodian of the eNATIS system.
“The Special Investigation Unit (SIU), at the request of the department and based on the December 2017 proclamation, is already investigating allegations of fraud and the manipulation of the eNATIS system.
“We will also bring to their attention the Public Protector’s finding and remedial action to investigate all cases of fraud and corruption against the staff at the licensing offices responsible for administering the eNATIS system, who may have manipulated the system to illegally register panel vans as passenger carrying minibus taxi,” said Nzimande.
The Department of Transport has already established systems and platforms to implement all the remedial actions contained in the report. It will submit the implementation plan and report about progress to the Public Protector, as directed.
Nzimande indicated that in carrying out the remedial actions, the department will continue to work closely with the taxi industry to ensure that their businesses are not negatively affected by this process.