Understanding the Legal Responsibilities of South African Transporters
18 August 2022
Unlike other countries known for their small-scale, more structured transport systems, South Africa is renowned for dealing with large fleets that are far trickier to manage. Businesses are expected to control hundreds of vehicles and often turn to software to streamline operations. These often-complex systems, however, are partly to blame for the mismanagement of products and deliveries. Why? Operators tend to use task-specific programmes that don’t necessarily complement each other.
Say you have a system in place for vehicle maintenance, and another for load deliveries. If one doesn’t talk to the other, you run the risk of scheduling a delivery, but the appropriate vehicle is in the workshop. Without an accurate overview of your supply chain, businesses are likely met with non-compliance problems that will cost them time and money.
Complex systems aside, it is the legal responsibility of any business owner or operator who transports goods, to ensure compliance is met in all tasks and activities. Outsourcing transport services, however, change these legal obligations which is why more and more businesses are turning to third-party providers to handle their supply chain functions.
It is the responsibility of the owner of a vehicle(s) to have it tested annually to ensure it is compliant with road safety regulations. A vehicle that passes will be granted a Certificate of Roadworthiness or a Certificate of Fitness (CoR). The process can take up to six weeks, which for some businesses, especially SMMEs, is time they cannot afford to waste. Outsourcing logistics to an external provider like Loadit which already has a fleet of roadworthy vehicles is then often a more efficient way of transporting goods.
The full responsibility for the compliance regarding axle masses, a vehicle, or a combination of vehicles lies with the carrier. This includes the mass of goods being transported. If the mass of any exceeds the legal limits, the vehicle is overloaded, and the driver or operator can be prosecuted. Reputable providers would have already taken the necessary steps to adhere to legal loading limits. Loadit, for example, uses state-of-the-art scheduling software and a centre of gravity analysis to meet the need of operators wanting to load their vehicles optimally. This ultimately reduces the time and money spent on business compliance.
To transport goods for an income on public roads in South Africa, drivers must be trained and in possession of a Professional Driving Permit (PrDP). The operator or business owner should ensure that this is the case. This process can take up to 12 weeks with, of course, a fee attached to the application and issuing of the permit. The Loadit drivers are professionally trained, screened, and all possess PrDPs in accordance with regulations. As a result, businesses needn’t worry about the legal requirements of such and can save time and money that would be spent managing drivers and navigating labour disputes.