DEKRA Opens Its 16th Roadworthy Test Centre

“Truck’s brakes fail – six killed!”

“Defective brakes send bus over the edge!”

“Unroadworthy taxis pulled off at Police roadblock!”

Headlines like these are a common sight in South Africa’s daily newspapers. During the Easter period and the December holidays they seem to enjoy an increase in focus and media time, but the truth is that tragic incidents such as these are almost a daily occurrence. Despite initiatives by Government to reduce road fatalities, there is a general apathy by vehicle owners of all categories to ensure that their vehicles meet SABS roadworthy requirements.

This situation is of course exacerbated by the increase of heavy vehicle commercial traffic. Notwithstanding efforts by Transnet to improve services with a view to increasing the use of rail as a the preferred method of transporting cargo from SA’s ports, the fact of the matter is that the full value of the Transnet solution is still some way off and therefore the use of heavy road haulage as a quicker, cheaper alternative to Transnet has increased exponentially and continues to grow.

“These big trucks are not going to disappear, we must embrace this fact,” said DEKRA Automotive CEO – Dr Henni Boudjelthia. All the compounding negative factors that give rise to tragic incidents such as increased road volumes, road conditions, driver fatigue and attitude and vehicle condition are present. Too often we treat the symptom rather than the cause. More than anything else, the single biggest responsibility all road users have regardless of whether they are transport operators, taxi owners, bus operators or private consumers is to ensure that their vehicles are 100% roadworthy.

As a major stakeholder in the South African testing industry, DEKRA Automotive believes a quality roadworthy inspection is sine qua non in respect of national objectives to reduce road fatalities. It is a proactive approach that begins with the vehicle owner and includes the Test Centre Proprietor. Whilst Government may be responsible for policing and enforcing the law, it is the Roadworthy Test Centre that determines what condition the vehicle leaves the Test Centre in. DEKRA is appointed as an agent by the Government and this brings with it significant responsibilities to ensure full compliance with the regulatory requirements.

“Our objective is not to fail vehicles; our role is to record the facts of the vehicle as it stands before us. DEKRA wishes to be a part of a long term and sustainable solution aimed at leveraging international testing standards and experience” said the CEO of DEKRA Automotive, “ to achieve this we must ensure that there is no compromise on quality and that we do not tolerate any form of fraud and corruption at a DEKRA Test Centre”.

Dr Boudjelthia went on to say that: “The onus to ensure quality roadworthy testing lies with us, nobody else, it is a state of mind. DEKRA Automotive (Pty) Ltd has accepted this obligation fully and has recently made a significant investment to open a new state-of –the art Grade ‘A’ Test Centre in Cape Town. This is our 16th Test Centre in the Western Cape and it is in the heart of the Airport Industrial precinct, offering quality roadworthy testing, convenience, easy access and service.”

DEKRA Cape Town Airport Test Centre located at 1 Milan Road, Airport Industrial has three fully functional testing lanes equipped with the latest German technology including an Emission Tester for cars, trucks and buses. “There will come a time when Government will enforce emission controls similar to those in Europe,” said the CEO. “Dekra is at the vanguard of this strategy .One of the test lanes is equipped to test Extra Heavy Load vehicles that have a wider wheelbase. This is the first of its kind in the Western Cape and is indicative of how DEKRA views its responsibility as a vehicle test centre owner and contributor towards road safety.

Together with the opening of a new Test Centre, DEKRA has also invested heavily in a Training Academy. Designed as a Centre of Excellence and using 85 years of roadworthy testing and vehicle inspection experience, DEKRA will use the Training Academy as an environment for constant refresher courses of DEKRA Examiners. Dr Boudjelthia said: “It is hoped that in the future, the Training Academy can become a source of highly qualified Vehicle Examiners for the roadworthy industry; Examiners who are trained and skilled according to international standards.”

As part of DEKRA’s commitment to quality roadworthy testing and as a value add to all its customers, every vehicle, truck, bus or trailer tested by DEKRA receives a DEKRA Security Sticker. This Security Sticker provides the vehicle owner with significant comfort that their vehicle has been Roadworthy Tested according to the highest standards and this knowledge is contained in a sticker which is applied to the rear of the vehicle for large trucks, trailers and taxis.

“We are very encouraged by the efforts of our partner, DEKRA Automotive, to improve the level of safety on our roads by implementing technology that has been tested and proven and is currently used in Europe and elsewhere.” Said the CEO of the AA - Karen Bryden.

“This system has been used successfully in Europe for many years. Traffic authorities there have come to rely on the DEKRA Roadworthy sticker on the back of the vehicle. They trust it!” said Dr Boudjelthia.

Designed in Germany the Roadworthy sticker uses the latest internationally available security technology to ensure that it is impossible to duplicate the Roadworthy sticker or remove it from a vehicle and apply it to another vehicle. The Roadworthy sticker has six major security features, thereby ensuring that it conforms to the most stringent standards of document security available today. DEKRA South Africa imports the Roadworthy security sticker directly from the supplier in Germany.

“It cannot be duplicated. It cannot be removed from one vehicle and placed on another vehicle because it self-destructs. A key security feature of the sticker! Our systems do not produce the Roadworthy Certificate unless the security number has been captured. DEKRA South Africa is world class,” the CEO said proudly.

DEKRA believes that this security sticker will greatly enhance the efforts of South African Law Enforcement Agencies when inspecting vehicles on South Africa’s roads and it is DEKRA’s uncompromising assurance that the vehicle bearing the DEKRA Roadworthy sticker has been roadworthy tested by DEKRA Automotive Pty Ltd.

In conclusion, the CEO said: “DEKRA is committed to implementing tangible and measurable solutions to improve the standard of vehicle roadworthy testing in South Africa. Hopefully the opening of our flagship test centre in Airport Industrial together with the DEKRA Training Academy will go a long way to improving the condition of the vehicles on South Africa’s roads and the skills of Vehicle Examiners.”

Issued by:   DEKRA Automotive
Date:   11 August 2011
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