XTND’s objective was to determine whether or not a vehicle was alienated in violation of the Credit Act. We talked to the buyer who had a sales contract with the financing firm from which he financed the automobile. Since he is still making payments on the vehicle per his contract, he stated that he never asked for the title holder or owner’s information to be updated in the eNatis system. This vehicle was also covered by insurance.
The vehicle was stolen after the claimant loaned it to a friend. He subsequently engaged a private investigator to look for the car and was briefed on the alterations to the eNatis system, but the car was never located. The claimant claims he was unaware of who made the alterations, how they were implemented, or what legal justification was relied upon. When asked about the whereabouts of the car, he said he had no idea.
Evidently, he never had met the person whose details were listed on the eNatis document. The private investigator, he said, told him to report his friend to SAPS for theft by means of false pretences and then make a claim with his insurance company to get back at least the amount he owed on the car.
The new “owner,” as revealed by our research, was actually a towing company director. In an interview, he revealed that the friend who had borrowed the car had been involved in an accident while driving and towing it on March 9, 2022. (The customer was given a copy of the towing slip, and it was verified that their details matched those on file.) It took them over a month of trying to reach the driver before she finally came and picked up the car from their storage facility.
She claimed financial hardship upon learning of the storage and towing costs. She then suggested that the towing business buy the car from her to cover the costs of towing and storage, and she would be paid the difference. She told the towing firm that her spouse was having trouble getting the original registration document in Johannesburg. Afterwards, she went to the towing firm and asked for the new “owner’s” identification and proof of address. After about two weeks, she contacted the new owner to let him know that the car was now in his name and that he may visit the licensing office in his region to draw a new registration paperwork.
The new owner said the car’s engine cut out on the first drive after he had fixed it. In an effort to recuperate some of their losses, they sold the vehicle’s components and body to a scrap yard.
An independent Transport Department source confirmed that the eNatis system updates originated in Middelburg. While documentation was sought, it’s possible that none was ever provided.
We discovered that it is a syndicate that operates throughout South Africa and is led by a well-known underworld kingpin. We further confirmed that there is already a warrant of arrest for the lady friend in another theft case.
XTND contacted the SAPS and provided them with all of the information they required to conduct further investigation into the syndicate and its operations.