‘My taxi went in for repairs, I never got it back’



September 23, 2016
‘My taxi went in for repairs, I never got it back’

RUINED: Lawanas 2001 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is kaput

Man’s stripped van in workshop for five years.

This man took his taxi to a Mercedes-Benz dealership for repairs in 2011.

Five years later his van is wrecked and he owes R200 000 on the vehicle, which is still in the workshop.

Mzuvukile Maxwell Lawana, 49, is not a happy man and wants the Merc dealership in Montague Gardens to repair and return his taxi.

The Parklands man says in November 2011, he took his 2001 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in to the dealership, and paid just over R34 000 to have broken piston rods fixed.

R23 000 of this went to labour.

He says the 28-seater luxury taxi was his livelihood which he used for long distance transportation.

“I also rented it out to a woman for R6 000 to transport school children,” he adds.

When he went to fetch the van in December 2011, mechanics allegedly said his cylinder head was the problem.

“They replaced they cylinder head, putting it on top of the broken piston rod. They said the piston rod was not the problem,” he says.

“I left and the car drove, but the following morning oil was squirting out the top of the tappet. I had to have people push the van to start and then drove it in first and second gear to their shop just inside the gate.”

He says after more arguments, the foreman took his van for a test drive.

“The engine seized up five minutes later,” explains Mzuvukile.

“They offered me R20 000 to fix my car, but the damage was worth R78 000. I got a legal aid attorney and filed to have my car repaired. I don’t want their money, I want my van fixed.”

He claims over the five years his van was stripped.

“They stole my parts,” he claims, adding that the van’s handles, air-conditioning, speakers, its new tyres and inside door panels are gone.

The dealership also slapped him with a storage bill of R197 505, which he refused to pay.

Mercedes-Benz Montague Gardens Service Manager, Trevor Cockard says he is aware of the matter, but referred queries to the company’s lawyers, Symington & De Kok Attorneys.

Lawyer Oba van Tonder confirmed their offices are representing Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles, Montague Gardens.

“Our client denies that there is any substance in the alleged claims set out in your email,” says Van Tonder.

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