In a parking area in one of Johannesburg’s most affluent areas lie over a dozen forgotten souls.
Abandoned by their owners and a mystery to the public, estimated seven cars have taken up unofficial residence at the Sandton Gautrain Station. Curious commuters in the area have probably seen one or more of these vehicles covered in a thick layer of dust, dawning flat clamped tyres and an expired licence disk.
According to a patrolling security guard, who would prefer to remain anonymous, many of these cars have been parked at the station for over five years now. He added that one in particular, a green Volkswagen Golf, is said to have taken up residence shortly after the station opened back in 2010.
“Many of these people most probably park their cars here, catch a train to the airport and never come back,” he said.
According to Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) spokesperson Kesagee Nayager, on behalf of Bombela Concession Company who manages the station, across all nine of its parking facilities there are currently 12 motor vehicles which have been deemed abandoned.
“In cases where the owners have been identified, we engage with the owner to have the vehicle removed as soon as possible.”
Nayager added that the agency does not have a prescribed maximum period for which a vehicle can be parked at the station.
“It is legal and permissible for a passenger to park long-term. Ideally though, we would like to be informed of the passenger’s intention to do so.”
If the Golf owner would by any chance reappear at the station to collect the car, it would cost them a small fortunate to drive the vehicle out of the station’s parking area. Taking into account the latest parking fees as set out by Bombela, the vehicle’s owner would be liable for over R300,000 in parking fees.
Unfortunately the GMA cannot remove the abandoned vehicles themselves and if all efforts to contact the owners or family members, in the event that the owner has passed away, the vehicle will remain at the station.
Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) spokesperson Wayne Minnaar added that this situation is also out of the Metro department’s hands as it can only intervene when a vehicle has been left on a public road.
Minnaar added that in the event that a vehicle has been abandoned on public road, if it is not removed within seven days, the vehicle will become property of the state.
With over 20,000 people estimated to make their way through the Sandton Gautrain Station each day, it appears that the mystery may continue to live on.
This article was republished from Sandton Chronicle with permission