DA calls for urgent intervention into dysfunctional testing stations

Leona Kleynhans MPL

Free State Provincial Legislature

Heavy vehicle testing stations across the Free State are dysfunctional. During regular oversight conducted over the last two weeks, we have discovered that officials at testing stations  are currently unable to test for the road-worthiness of heavy vehicles due to ‘machines’ that have not been calibrated for several years.

In the Eastern Free State only the Ladybrand testing station is operational, but it only opens for the testing of heavy vehicles for three days a week.

Many heavy transportation companies and farmers are now forced to transport goods to markets on vehicles whose licenses have expired. This places them at risk of having fines imposed on them and/or having their vehicles impounded at no fault of their own.

I have written to the Roads and Transport MEC, Butana Khompela, requesting him to address this situation as a matter of urgency. Our recommendations include:

  • The Department should transfer testing station operational staff from non-operational to operational testing stations to assist in the addressing the backlog;
  • That operational stations open every day to allow for the testing of vehicles;
  • Where vehicles cannot be tested and properly licenced due to faulty machinery, that a letter of exemption be issued to the owner, with due consideration given to the visible road-worthiness of vehicles, stating the reason for the vehicle being unlicenced and that this temporary measure be communicated to traffic law enforcement departments throughout the province so as to avoid unfair issuance of fines and prevent the unfair impoundment of vehicles until testing stations are all fully operational;
  • Issue a public notice to inform the public at large of the situation, how it will be addressed, which stations are operational so that heavy vehicle owners can make arrangements to facilitate the testing and renewal of licences.

Our rural economy relies heavily on the transport business. Dysfunctional testing stations coupled with the poor state of our roads negatively impact on the free movement of people and goods. This places an additional burden on our struggling economy.