Gautrain could charge civil servant over R70k for car abandoned at station

With its thick layer of grime, the Audi has become a canvas for passers-by to scrawl their initials.
With its thick layer of grime, the Audi has become a canvas for passers-by to scrawl their initials.
Image: The Times / Halden Krog

The mysterious tale of a German sedan that has been gathering dust at a Gautrain station for two years could mean a parking bill for its owner — an official in the department of sports, arts & culture — for more than what the car is worth.

It could cost R73,000 and counting to drive the Audi A4 station wagon, registered to Charles Mabaso, chief director of cultural development in the department, out of Gautrain’s dimly lit Sandton parking garage.

With its thick layer of grime, the Audi has become a canvas for passers-by to scrawl their initials.

Just why the car has apparently been abandoned is not clear, because Mabaso has yet to respond to queries.

Gautrain spokesperson Kesagee Nayager said that according to car-park records the Audi has been parked there for two years.If a car-owner parks but does not use the train service, he or she has to pay a parking fee of R100 a day. If the driver does use the train, the fee is R23 a day, or nearly R17,000 for two years.

The value of an Audi of that model and year — depending on the mileage — could be R60,000.

“We do not have a prescribed maximum period for a vehicle to be parked at a station and it is legal and permissible for a passenger to park long term,” Nayager said.

“We do not have a prescribed maximum period for a vehicle to be parked at a station and it is legal and permissible for a passenger to park long term.”
Gautrain spokesperson Kesagee Nayager

Ideally, owners would tell station officials if they intended to leave their vehicles for long periods.

Dirty dozen

Nayager said Gautrain knew of 12 abandoned cars in the 11,000 parking bays serving nine stations.

Among them is a Jeep Cherokee, also in the Sandton parking garage, which hasn’t moved from its bay in three years and could have racked up a fee as high as R110,000.

The Jeep is registered to the Audi Centre at the East Rand Mall, but when contacted this week dealer principal Pieter de Wet said he knew nothing about it. “I didn’t know we had lost one of our cars,” he said.

He undertook to make inquiries about the vehicle but did not respond to further messages.

Nayager said officials had made concerted efforts to contact the owners of the vehicles because the cars could not be moved without their consent.

“We first attempt to establish contact with the owner, or the family of the owner in the event that the owner has passed away, so that we can find an amicable solution,” she said.

A City Press report in July last year named Mabaso as being among department officials implicated in a funding scandal. The department criticised the report at the time as inaccurate and incorrect.

Repeated efforts to contact Mabaso by phone, text, WhatsApp and e-mail were unsuccessful.

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