Videos show BMW and taxi crushed in illegal import clampdown

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has posted several videos of South African police destroying illegally-imported cars at its safeguarding storage in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape.

Police are carrying out the crushing of 91 seized vehicles that were illegally registered on the National Traffic Information System throughout the week.

The contingent forms part of 520 cars impounded in 2019 following a fraudulent car registration syndicate investigation.

The probe led to the arrest of 17 suspects, including police officers, transport department officials, and foreign nationals accused of being the leaders of the syndicates.

Among the charges levelled against the suspects are forgery, money laundering, fraud, the selling of illicit goods.

Below are videos of a BMW 1-series hatchback and Toyota Quantum minibus being crushed into a so-called “pancake” shape in a garbage compactor on Thursday.

Most of the crushed vehicles are “grey models” from neighbouring countries like Malawi, RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane told News24.

These cars are imported at a fraction of their original prices from Europe and Asia and sold legally in several African countries.

To reach land-locked states like Botswana, the cars are often transported from Durban harbour.

Criminal syndicates working with corrupt department officials exploit this link in the chain.

South Africa does not permit the sale and use of these cars on its roads, except for visits.

Unless the buyer is willing to pay a substantial import tax to have the vehicle legally registered, it will be seized and destroyed.

This practice is primarily geared toward protecting the local automotive manufacturing industry.

BMW, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Isuzu, Toyota, and Volkswagen have car manufacturing plants in South Africa.

Grey models from these companies typically sell for much less than the equivalent used model in South Africa.

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Videos show BMW and taxi crushed in illegal import clampdown