Minister Carlisle to Appeal Cape High Court's TJ Vehicle Testing Station Judgment
Robin Carlisle, the Minister for Transport and Public Works in the Western Cape, has instructed his legal team to apply for leave to appeal the Cape High Court Judge Anton Veldhuizen's overturning of the suspension of TJ Motor Vehicle Testing Station by the minister.
Minister Carlisle suspended the station in terms of the National Road Traffic Act Regulation 136 (3) after two affidavits alleging criminal activity at the station were handed to him.
The court ruled that in terms of Section 3 of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, the minister should have given TJ Vehicle Testing Station adequate notice of his intention to suspend its registration.
Furthermore, the court ruled that the minister should have provided TJ VTS with the reasons for the suspension along with that notice, and should have afforded TJ VTS sufficient time to prepare representations.
Speaking on behalf of Minister Carlisle, Hector Eliott, the Head of Ministry, expressed disappointment at the ruling.
"With great respect to the court's decision, the National Road Traffic Act gives the Minister for Transport the power to suspend a station immediately should he or she come into possession of affidavits alleging criminal activity. This power to do so immediately is there for two very good reasons."
"Firstly, the minister has a duty, shared with all organs of state, to protect human lives, and road safety is the primary purpose of roadworthy certification."
"Secondly, providing advance warning of the intent to close and the reasons therefore quite obviously will minimise the chances of a successful investigation should the affidavits alleging criminal activity be correct."
"The repercussions for road safety of the judgment are obviously severe, and it seems certain that those vehicle testing stations which operate outside the law will welcome it. Those stations will be aware that if their criminal activities are brought to light, they will be notified to this effect well in advance, and have sufficient time to make all possible preparations to prevent a thorough investigation."
"Naturally, we have to apply for leave to appeal against this judgment, and the minister has instructed our legal services to do so as urgently as possible. The Promotion of Administrative Justice Act makes provision for the kind of administrative action described in the National Road Traffic Act."
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