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Welcome to our queries and answers forum

Storage Fees
2009-03-06 14:48:31

 6th March 2009

Could you possibly help me with the reasonable price that storage should be charged at. Also is there an organisation I can go to if I feel I am being charged excessive storage fees?

Hello Ceri,

This is a good question.   

STORAGE : light vehicles, motor cars, bakkies, mini buses.

Storage  of accident damaged and/or broken down motor vehicles by towers is often, after the fact, a contentuous issue and we now endeavour to shed light on the subject to assist the consumer in so far as storage charges apply to the Towing Industry


1. Is there a standard fixed storage fee applicable across the industry?


No. The Competitions Act does not allow industry wide fixing of prices by any industry, which will lead to investigation by the Competition Commission and possible prosecution in the Competition Tribunal, as it is illegal. (Anti competitive.) Additionally the towing industry straddles both the formal and infomal sectors of the market and towing businesses range from single tow truck owner/operators running their business out of the backyards of their homes or on the streets in front of their residences to professional 100+ tow truck fleets.


2. What is the fair and reasonable amount I can expect to pay for storage?


SATRA given it’s unique position in the towing industry for more than two decades is acutely aware of industry trends and can advise that prices rangeing between R100.00 AND R450.00 per day or part thereof are currently being charged.These prices are at the extremes of the low and high ends and an average price of around R200.00 give or take R10.00 to R20.00 is the more reasonble and widely charged daily storage fee you can expect to pay currently.


3. Why am I being charged additional administration and security fees.


Storage fees will vary from the tower who stores your vehicle in his back yard or some suburban street in front of his house to the professional towing operation that has a properly secured towing yard with 24 hour manned security, offices infrastructure and administrative personnel, the costs of which must be recovered.


We strongly suggest that you keep SATRA's Call Centre number on your cell phone and in your vehicle and do all tows through our Call Centre.  








Message from: Ceri email

2009-03-06 14:47:26

 6th February 2009

Hi. Can you tell me if i dont have insurance what should i do in the advent of an accident. I was reading the star newspaper today-consumer watch where people fell prey into towing traps by paying exhorbitant fees.

Hello Khalil,

As always, we strongly suggest that you keep SATRA's Call Centre number to hand, on your cell phone, in your wallet and in the cubby hole or behind the sunvisor of your vehicle.         

Should you suffer the misfortune of a motor vehicle accident, only deal with a SATRA member, and even then always contact  SATRAssist Call Centre, you yourself  for immediate advice and assistance. Ensure that you yourself both make the call to SATRA and speak to the Call Centre operator personally.

Tow truck drivers make their living towing vehicles and they will do whatever is necesssary to get the tow. They are not obliged to make you clever, why should they? We suggest that you read everything on this website so that you can make an informed decision whenever you need a tow.





Message from: Khalil Kharwa email

2009-01-06 14:47:07

12th December 2008      


In terms of the doctrine of caveat subscriptor  ("Let the signor beware"), implies that a person who signs a written document signifies his assent to the contents of the document, and if it subsequently turns out not to be to his liking he has no one to blame but himself.


This rule is traced back to the case of Burger v Central/SAR 1903 TS 571. In this case the consignment note signed by Burger's agent incorporated the goods traffic regulations by reference. Burger read the consignment note before the valuable laws books that were to be railed were sent, but did not read or enquire about the regulations. The books were stolen/lost, and when he wanted to claim their value he was met with the aforementioned regulations which limited the railways liability. Innes CJ held that Burger was bound by the regulations, even although they had not been printed on the document, and were merely referred to by reference.


The Parol Evidence Rule similarly prevents evidence being led as to the conclusion of the agreement, should such evidence be contrary to the terms of the written agreemnet, if it was agreed by the parties that the agreement would form the sole record of their agreement. 



Team SATRA's Attorney who is also SATRA's Secretary





Message from: SATRA's Attorney / Secretary email

What does the SA law say if vehicles are not claimed within 3 months
2008-12-11 08:15:15

 9th December 2008

To Whom it may concern.     

Kindly advise what the legalities are with regards to vehicles that got

towed in and unclaimed within 3 months. 

Looking forward to your urgent reply.

Quinette Swart

Hello Quinette, 

Much depends on the towing agreement entered into and signed at the time of the tow. We would need to have site of the towing agreement, they vary from towing company to towing company, to give a properly qualified response.

If there is no clause dealing with specific performance then the legal requirements are substantial and lengthy and we suggest you contact your lawyer for further assistance in this regard as without this clause being included, agreed to and signed for at the time of the tow the motor vehicle cannot simply and arbitrarily be disposed of to cover towing storage and ancilliary costs.

Before taking the matter any further make sure of what was signed for at the time.


Andre van der Merwe




Message from: Quinette Swart email

Multi Tow operating in Alberton
2008-12-11 00:50:52


18th September 2008

     Alberton Towing & Recovery                 

would just like to inform Barbie (Regent) as well as the public that Alberton Towing and Alberton Multi Tow are not the same company.

It seems with complaints that we have received that a few people are getting confused.

Barbie, please check with those documents as Alberton Multi Tow is not a registered company. They are registered as Multi Tow.



 We regret the mix up Jaques.

SATRA fully endorse Alberton Towing & Recovery and want to emphasize that Multi Tow in Alberton and Germiston are in no way connected to Alberton Towing & Recovery.

We have made the  necessary adjustments to the entry where Barbie complains about Multi Tow to ensure that there is no further confusion.

Multi Tow in Pretoria are SATRA members.

If in doubt please phone SATRA's 247 Call Centre, the towing safety net at 0861 0 SATRA. (0861 0 72872)  





Message from: Jacques email

Towing of stolen vehicles
2008-09-26 23:49:12

23rd June 2008

Dear Sir / Madam,   

A relative's vehicle was hi-jacked over the weekend and was found in mamelodi by the tracking company and Police.


Whilst I was opening the case at the SAPS, I was contacted and informed that the vehicle had been found but it was locked and parked by the criminals. I was told that I would need to bring spare keys for them to open the car so that it could be returned to my relative.


Due to the fact that she was very traumatised etc etc and that her house keys were in the car as well (hence unable to get the spare keys) I suggested that we send a towing service to collect the vehicle.


I called the AA and was told that they could not transport a stolen vehicle. I spoke to a Police Officer at the scene and was told that I could send a private company to collect the vehicle but upon calling a private company was told that they were not permitted to tow a stolen vehicle. I was informed that only SAPS tow trucks may tow these.


The SAPS tow truck arrived at approximately 06h00 ( almost 8 hours after the vehicle was found), please advise the following:-


1) Is a private company permitted to tow a stolen vehicle after it has been recovered?

2) Is the vehicle's motorplan compromised after having been towed by the SAPS?



Galen Fritz

Dear Galen,   

1. The SAPS usually contract with private towing companies to provide all their towing requirements nationally. They have full authority over a stolen vehicle as it has been used in a crime.


2. No, your motorplan should not be voided due to the vehicle being towed by an SAPS appointed towing contractor, so long as any damage to the vehicle caused by the hijackers is repaired by a repairer approved by your vehicle manufacturer in terms of your motorplan.




Message from: Galen Fritz email

Drivers License
2008-09-26 23:48:41

21st June 2008

International Drivers License Needed  

I am an American who's drivers just expired. How can I get a new international drivers without leaving South Africa?

Hello Margo,      

You can get an international drivers license at several places.

1) Email driversdocument@topmail.co.za 

2) Visit this web site: http://www.iaa-sa.co.za/

3) Visit this web site: http://www.idlicense.com/?gclid=CMudlaO-hZQCFQ2qQwodCHojXA



Message from: Margo email

towing of a vehicle from the accident scene
2008-09-26 23:48:06

8th May 2008

Towing of a vehicle from the accident scene  

My brother was involved in a car accident, police and the tow truck company advised him to sign papers to tow the vehicle. he was not informed as to how much it will cost to tow the vehicle... After two days he was released from hospital, he tracked his car and found out that it has been towed to a company and the towing costs are R1750 towing and R125 storage pd. He is unemployed, running a fruit & veg stand, and cannot afford the kind of money. I tried to plead with the company at least to be given a rebate, but the owner said no and if iwant to i can go to the highest court, i will loose because he signed for the car to be towed away... My argument is that he was not given an opportunity to choose... nor was he told how much it will cost... so that he could've applied his mind and said yes or now.. Can we be assisted in terms of our rights in this case. All that I am pleading for is a rebate on this amount as Mr Genu is unemployed....am not disputing the fact that he signed, but also the company should take the responsibility of not informing the person and giving him the opportunity to indicate if he can afford or not. Thanks

Dear Babalwa,   

Whilst we sympathise with your brothers financial circumstances we cannot intervene on this basis alone and need to emphasise the following to assist others who will undoubtedly find themselves in a similar situation in the future.

1. Whilst your brother was advised at the time by both the policeman and the tow trucker to sign the papers (authorization to tow) and did so with out being informed of the costs of service nothing prevented him from asking what the costs would be before he signed and clearly he should have asked as most times towers will not freely offer up this information before hand.

2.  The towing charges and storage costs are market related and indeed not unreasonable.

3.  Towing is a commercial enterprise and towing operators have to charge for their services to remain in business.

4.  Your brother had the opportunity to exercise his rights at the time of the incident and did not make use of the opportunity at the time.

We have contacted Jo Barden to request a reduction of fees considering your brother’s alleged circumstances and he has refused claiming you have already been to the police and lawyers without any prior approaches to him for assistance and is for this reason understandably aggrieved under the cicumstances.

The short answer to your question is therefore “ unfortunately you will have to pay the full costs of service before getting your car back from the service provider and we advise you to do so as soon as possible to save yourselves the additional storage costs which are accumulating daily”

Should you ever find yourselves in such a situation again we invite you to contact our emergency call centre for assistance and we will manage the entire process on your behalf and ensure you do not suffer the same situation you now find yourself in.  



Message from: babalwa email

2008-09-26 23:45:35

 7th May 2008


Please could you assist me on what the going rates are for a tow assist.

Ive need assistance on the 22/02/2008 from one of your tow in services when my wife was stuck in the mud in Thabazimbi. The person came out and assist her by winch out my vehicle. There was no need to tow in the vehicle and the distance from the service provider to where the assistance was needed is 14km.

Please give me a guidance of the cost of  such a call.


WJJ Stevens

Dear Mr. Stevens,                          

We will be posting your query and our response on the “queries” page of our website for the benefit you and others like you who may have queries of a similar nature in future.

We need more info to enable us to properly understand your query and address the appropriate response once we fully understand all the dynamics involved.

1. Which company provided the service and are they SATRA members, which you can confirm by referring to our SATRA Membership lists by province on the SATRA website by clicking on “need a tow? know where to go” on the “about us” page.

2.What type of tow truck rendered assistance?

3.Was the recovery offroad i.e. in the bush?

4.How long did the recovery take?

5.Was the recovery done during normal working hours or at about what time?

6.How much were you charged? We will need a copy of the tow slip.

7. Are you happy with the service but unhappy with the costs of service?

Once we have all the required information we will be in a position to properly assess your situation, comment and intervene on your behalf should there prove to be a need for such intervention.


Team  SATRA 


Message from: WJJ Stevens email

2008-09-26 23:37:45

7th May 2008


It is a SATRA member and no I am not going to give you the name of the towing company because then you are going to phone this guy and inform him of my query.

 The details of recovery is as follow:

   Repair call               R500-00

   Repair km 28km       R154-00


   Tax                         R  91-56


He was not even busy for 5min on my vehicle, no tow in only recovery out of mud with his winch


WJJ Stevens

Dear Mr. Stevens,    

Thank you for your partial response, however the costs alone do not suffice and we will still require answers to the remainder of our questions for the reasons already given.

You should not be concerned that we will obviously put your complaint to our member for his response as it is procedurely fair and correct to always afford the other party the right of reply. Furthermore Thabazimbi only supports two SATRA members so establishing which of them you are referring to is a simple matter of a telephone call to these members to confirm who rescued your wife, Mrs. Stevens from the mud on the 22nd February 2008 and obtain their version of events so as to fairly balance our response.




Message from: WJJ Stevens email

2008-09-26 23:36:49

24th April 2008

Hollard Insurance & SATRA      

Good day, 

I have recieved faxes from Hollard Procurement informing me of what to do and who to claim from in the event of one of there clients being involved in an accident.

They also include a list of schemes that distribute the policies and write about agreed prices that I am not currently aware of.

Here are a few questions pertaining to the faxes.

1)  Is Hollard a business partner of SATRA.

2)  What are the fees for towing.

3) Who is allowed to tow Hollard vehicles.

4) Will all these schemes they mention give authority when I call in to arrange a tow.

Please let me know about the above and also any other important answers on questions I did not mention that you think is relevant to the above.

Awaiting your reply,

Lance Summers


Hello Lance,   

Thank you for your questions. Herewith our Chairman's response: 

Question 1) Is Hollard a business partner of SATRA?

Answer   1) Yes, Hollard is a highly valued business partner of SATRA.

Question 2) What are the fees for towing?

Answer   2.1) SATRA members are entitled to an accident towing fee of R1850.00 for light motor vehicles within a radius of  20kms of the SATRA members yard. However since signature of the Hollard/SATRA towing agreement in December 2006, Hollard has for logistical reasons, used a separate intermediary to provide the necessary call centre facility, which was Europe Assistance for 2007 and Innovations since the beginning of 2008 to date and herein lies the problem SATRA members have experienced with the rates they have been allowed to charge by these intemediaries when they have contacted them for authorisation to tow. SATRA identified very early in the agreement that initially Europe Assistance and now Innovations, in breach of the Hollard / SATRA agreement, negotiate much lower rates than SATRA's  agreed preferential rates for SATRA's members when they call in for authorisation to tow from accident scenes and if the SATRA members fail to comply they are declined the tow. This again creates a lose, lose situation for the co-operating SATRA member/tower. Don't agree to a lower price and lose the tow altogether or agree to the lower price which is often R1000 and lose the benefit of the preferential rate as agreed between SATRA and  Hollard for the benefit of SATRA's participatingmembers. 


SATRA have further identified, particularly in the large metros, these same call centres, for whatever reasons, show a preference for certain towing operators and dispatch them, again depriving the SATRA member on scene, who has called the call centre for authorisation to tow.       SATRA having been alerted to the foregoing problems and with Hollard's prior consent, sent a newsflash on 05/11/2007 to the members which said "Hollard have moved their call centre from Europassistance for various reasons. With immediate effect, members who need authorisation      to tow Hollard vehicles must phone SATRA at 0861 0 72872  (0861 0 SATRA)" This is the easy solution to all the problems SATRA members have experienced and continue to experience and the smart SATRA members who follow this instruction will neither lose money nor the tow.            

Answer   2.2)   SATRA are presently engaged with Hollard regarding the prices of trade tows, storage, additional kilos etc. and also processes re our agreement. 

Question 3)Who is allowed to tow Hollard vehicles?

Answer   3)The first SATRA member to arrive on the scene and call SATRA's call centre for authorisation to tow will upon, receiving the authorisation number, be allowed to tow the Hollard vehicle.

Question 4)Will all these schemes they mention give authority when I call in to arrange the tow?

Answer   4)Given the past and ongoing previously mentioned actions of Innovations who are the current call centre service provider (besides SATRA) to Hollard and are therefore to whom all the various schemes telephone numbers are diverted, SATRA cannot guatantee that should members call these numbers they are guaranteed a tow or the agreed SATRA/Hollard price. You only have this guarantee at SATRA's Call Centre.


Team  SATRA                


Message from: Lance Summers email

SATRA Member List Needed
2008-09-26 23:20:09

8th April 2008 

To whom it may concern,  

We provide company vehicles to our senior staff members and would like to distribute a list of registered SATRA members & their contact details to them. Our aim is to limit the number of towing service companies used in the event of an accident. Using SATRA members also has an influence on our insurance payouts.

If you have any queries, feel free to contact me.


Isabel Goosen,

Fleet Manager.

Dear Isabel,    

Thank you for your enquiry.

Whilst you may refer to our membership listings posted on our website by clicking on 'Need a tow? Know where to go' on the 'about us' page on our site, we recommend that your staff members when needing help contact our 24/7 call centre, telephone no:  0861 0 72872  (0861 0 SATRA) for assistance that we may manage the process entirely for yourselves thereby guaranteeing seamless assistance at the  prices negotiated by ourselves on your behalf with the SATRA member providing the service at the time.

A SATRA staff member will contact you shortly to gain a better understanding of your requirements and negotiate the finer details of an SLA with yourselves tailored to your specific needs should you decide on this option.




Message from: Isabel Goosen email

Towing Fees
2008-09-26 23:10:33

3rd April 2008 

Towing Fees   

Good morning, As a Non-Satra member, what are your towing rates per kilometre?

Regards, Basil De Sousa

Good Day Basil, 

You will find your question answered in the query hereunder, just before yours.




Message from: Basil De Sousa email

2008-09-26 21:44:52

 3rd April 2008 


The Right Price - You Did Not Answer My Questions  


Dear Sirs


I had a look and the answers to the questions were not answered. Thanks for the response in any case.



Frans Geldenhuys

Claims Manager


 Dear Frans     


I must humbly in part disagree that we have not answered your questions and whilst apologizing at the same time note


1. answers to your specific questions were not given.


SATRA neither dictates nor suggests towing rates outside of those contractually agreed between SATRA, SATRA’s members and the parties contracting with SATRA to provide the services you have listed and which prices are confidential between the contracting parties.


2. prices for towing and related services are subjective.


SATRA’s member’s price for their services relative to their input costs and differ from member to member dependant on their infrastructure and other cost inputs and as we accommodate from the one man owner operator to the larger several hundred truck towing organizations, prices vary considerably across our membership base and again can only be aligned in the previously mentioned contractual environment.


3. your questions aside, the remainder of your query and especially the allegations contained therein are vague non specific generalizations that further preclude us from responding with specifics.


Please provide us with the names of those “Tow Services that aledge (sic) they belong to SATRA and then they charge exorbitant release fees on insurance claims” you “constantly experience problems with” and the invoices pertaining to these exorbitant fees they charge that SATRA may indentify the exact nature of your problem and address it appropriately with the relevant Towing Services, if they are indeed found to be SATRA members.


Can you at the same time please also provide us with your interpretation of what the costs should be for the various services you have referred to in your query.


SATRA members upon joining SATRA are required to bind themselves contractually to the SATRA Code of Conduct which is based upon the four pillars of Fairness; Responsibility; Accountability and Transparency.


Once again you are invited to visit and explore our website which offers a wealth of information and opportunity for those seeking solutions to problems that go beyond simple answers to specific questions which cannot be simply answered in the hope of solving such problems.


SATRA in this regard refers you specifically to our Code of Conduct which can be found under SATRA Members on the front page of  SATRA MOTORIST on our website.


SATRA has gone to great lengths to provide motorists and others such as yourself with this useful tool giving the opportunity for self help by making proper use of the SATRA website.


Please use the opportunity.


We look forward to receiving the required information from yourself in furtherance of not simply answering your questions but ultimately solving your problems



Andre van der Merwe

SATRA  Chairman




Message from: Frans Geldenhuys email

The Right Prices
2008-09-26 21:43:46

 2nd April 2008 



Dear Sirs,


I constantly experience problems with Tow Services that allege they belong to Satra and then they charge exorbitant release fees on insurance claims.


I would like to enquire about a list of suggested fees from Satra regarding the following:


 ·       Tow fees;  Storage fees;  Admin; Security; Recovery- When it is applicable as well!


Hope to get your speedy response


Frans Geldenhuys

 SATRA's Response          

Dear Frans, 

You are not alone, there are a multitude of entities who experience the same problem where towing operators allege, many of them falsely so, that they are SATRA members in an attempt to justify their charging exorbitant release fees on insurance claims.


SATRA does not support the charging of exorbitant release or any other towing and related fees to any individual or entity, does not approve exploitation of the consumer or any other parties, which not least includes its own members by other parties, in any form whatsoever and cannot and will not condone nor tolerate this type of behaviour more especially so when it is done in the name of SATRA by delinquent members of SATRA who use their SATRA membership as justification for extortionist practices.


Release fees are however a very subjective debate as the feeling in the towing industry is that many insurers and their various agents demand and/or are only willing to pay indecently low release fees and SATRA welcomes this opportunity to begin this particular, very topical and pressing debate in the “queries” forum of our website with the Insurance industry for the edification of all our stake holders and more particularly the motoring public.


SATRA, acknowledging that there is an historical tendency for elements within the towing industry to exploit and extort the motorist, insurers and others at every given opportunity, operates a 24/7 call centre offering assistance to all parties when they have need of any towing or related roadside rescue or assistance and is able to guarantee that when we are called upon to manage the towing and related processes at the time of the incident these extortionist practices will not occur and exorbitant fees will not be charged.


To this end we have entered into and enjoyed a very successful five year and ongoing relationship with SANTAM and you are welcome to contact us with a view to entering into a similar relationship with SATRA to our mutual benefit.


The Call Centre no. is 0861 0 72872. (0861 SATRA)


SATRA stands for “ fair play to all” and looks forward to yours and all and any other interested parties constructive inputs and responses that the debate may begin. 



Andre van der Merwe

SATRA  Chairman





Message from: Frans Geldenhuys email

2008-09-26 21:43:11

2nd April 2008  

Dear SATRA,               

Could someone please assist me. I am trying to find out what the specifications and criteria are for getting a breakdown through sabs. I have heard many conflicting stories that you cannot register a breakdown anymore (bakkie tow truck ) but then I see new vehicles on the road registered. Could someone please enlighten me to the laws

Thank you

Paul Odendaal 

Dear Paul,                   

Thank you for your enquiry. 

New rollbacks and heavy duty tow trucks built locally require Homologation Certificates from the SABS approved builders to be able to obtain the necessary Certificates of Fitness from the licensing authorities when registering them with these authorities. 

As far as light duty slingback tow trucks are concerned there appears to be no formal standardized policy in this regard which varies from province to province and centre to centre e.g. in Worcester in the Western Cape the licensing authorities require that any new slingback must have a Homologation Certificate whereas Cape Town does not.



Message from: Paul Odendaal email

Barbie from Regent Insurance
2008-09-26 21:40:59

12th March 2008 

Dear SATRA,                                                                                     

Motorcycle: SAM125 Reg. No: WRY 518 GP Towing Company: MULTITOW operating in the Alberton area

I would like to express my disgust in the manner this was done. My son, aged 15, with no licence, had an accident with the motorcycle on 6 March 2008. I have received a "please call me" from the towtruckdriver, Clint,but because I did not know the number, I did not adhere to it. A few seconds later I received another phonecall from an eye witness from the scene of the accident whom left me a message that my son was involved in an accident and that they are going to take him to the hospital. The towtruck driver then got into the ambulance where my son was and asked my son whether he had spoken to me whereupon my son replied yes and that he the driver must phone me as I work for Regent Insurance. The phonecall never happened. Instead the driver got out of the ambulance and stated in front of the traffic officer that I(the mother) had authorised them to tow the motorcycle, which was not true. No one had ever spoken to me about the towing of the motorcycle, they only spoke to me about my son going to hospital. Furthermore my father in law,he has a hearing problem, was at the scene as well and when he asked about the motorcycle he was told that I have authorised the tow. A high school girl, Roxanne, signed for the authorisation of the tow. Neither she or my son had any authority to do so. Alberton Multitow does not want to release the motorcycle unless I pay them R1500.00. I did not authorise them to take the bike and would like the bike back at the scene of the accident. I did send them a fax today, 10/03/2008, giving them time until 12 o'clock to give me an answer but to no avail. Is there any chance you can assist us. How can they go on minors words? Thanks Barbie Fourie Legal Department Regent Insurance Company Tel:  011 879 5103 

13th March 2008 

Dear Barbie,                                        

Thank you for visiting SATRA’s website and for contacting us.
We have read your complaint. The Multitow operating inthis area are not SATRA members. 

On reviewing your query we can offer the following advice, which is that if you feel that you have been unfairly treated, to take the matter to the small claims court as the amount is under R7000.00. In the mean time we hope that you have paid the fee and taken the motor cycle out of the storage facility at Multitow so as to avoid any further costs. I see that you are in the legal department at Regent so no doubt you will know to obtain all the affidavits and to take all documentation to the court. Multitow will of course do the same.

Please let us know what the outcome of this matter is.


Message from: Barbie Fourie email



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