The Brake & Tyre Watch team was expecting the worse. After all, Musina in the Limpopo province is the first town that trucks enter after crossing the Beitbridge border post travelling down south from neighbouring countries and the general perception held by many in our industry is that most of these trucks are horrendously unroadworthy. That’s not true but it is a perception. So, did the reality match this perception? Unfortunately, out of eight trucks tested, seven were served with Discontinuation notices writes Patrick O’Leary.
HAVING SAID that, let me stress that the words “horrendously unroadworthy” could not be applied to all of them. In this light, it is important to understand that during the Brake & Tyre Watch exercises, there are no ‘grey’ areas.
It is either right or it is wrong. It either complies with legislation or it doesn’t – and that covers the full spectrum of the inspections. And this brings me to a very important subject. Here’s the question. Must trucks coming into South Africa comply in every way to our local legislation? I asked a number of the cops and some said yes, others said no, others didn’t know. Take one of the rigs as an example.
In South Africa, the manufacturer’s data plate is a legislated must. It must be riveted – not stuck on in any other way – onto the left side of the trailer and must contain all the relevant information. One vital piece of information on this plate is the date of manufacture. Why?
Because this simple bit of information allows a traffic official, when stopping a rig to check its roadworthy status, to ascertain whether or not the vehicle must have automatic or manual slack adjusters and an ABS system fitted. According to our South African law, all trailers manufactured after February 14, 2004 must have these items fitted.
One of the Zimbabwean rigs brought in for testing didn’t have any data plate on the side – not a manufacturer’s data plate or a load sensing data plate. It was blank. So what to do? We called over one of the Cross Border Road Transport Agency officers and asked her. She was adamant. It had to comply in…
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