In a joint initiative with the South African Police (SAP) and the short term insurance industry through the South African Insurance Crime Bureau (SAICB), a pilot project was instituted to address concerns raised over the high percentage of stolen and recovered vehicles in the custody of the SAP in the Kwazulu Natal Province. It was agreed that the pilot project start at the Vehicle Identification and Safeguarding Section (VISS) in Isipingo, Durban.
A four month project with inception date 2 August 2010 has now finally drawn to a successful close on 26 November 2010.
An eight-man SAP project team was assigned to the project and along with representatives from the insurance industry, began the daunting task of identifying the vehicles and contacting the private owners and/or insurers of the vehicles to facilitate the recoveries.
The short term insurance industry also provided vehicle identification and recovery expertise through their personnel, and assisted the SAP in identification and release of vehicles. Protocols were also established to enhance expediency in the identification and releasing of stolen recovered vehicles. This project proved to be an example of what can be achieved when business and the SAP collaborate to address a problem that affects both. The insurers were not the only beneficiaries of this project, as the project also identified vehicles for uninsured owners of SA.
Any questions over the success of the project are best answered on reflection of what has been achieved within this short period. The results exceeded the expectations of the South African Police and the insurance industry and proves that such Public and Private sector partnerships can be beneficial to all those involved and the people of South Africa as well.
During the scope of the project the Intervention Team disposed of approximately 2500 vehicles and saved the insurance industry, the financial industry as well as the uninsured members of the public more than R18 million. In monetary terms, from the benefit and savings achieved, it is clear that this partnership has been an overwhelming success.
The SAICB are now working on rolling out this project to cover the KwaZulu Natal police station pounds and to eventually roll this out to the rest of the provinces with the permission and assistance of the SAP, to assist with addressing the backlogs. The SAICB is planning on extending the project to the surrounding countries, with a Lesotho pounds cleanup planned for early 2011.
The SAP has a legal obligation to recover, safeguard and to release stolen/recovered motor vehicles to persons who may lawfully take possession thereof free from any financial obligation.
The role players, Provincial Commissioner Lt. General B M Ngobeni, Maj. General J W Booysen, Brigadier SS Vezi, Project Leader Lt/Colonel Deckford and his staff, the SAICB, Hugo van Zyl and the representatives from the insurance industry involved, are commended for their outstanding achievement.
Quote by Hugo van Zyl:
“The SAICB was officially launched on 31 October 2008 and in just over two years has established itself not only as a valuable tool in the fight against insurance fraud and related crimes, but has also brought the various agencies working in the broader fight against commercial crime closer together to the benefit of all.”
“The SAICB is proud of the successful completion of this project and for the invaluable assistance of our members and their representatives who have spent the last four months diligently working on this project. The SAICB would also like to extend its gratitude to the SAP Kwazulu Natal, the Project team and management, in particular Lt Colonel Deckford and his management team and staff.”