SUNDAY TIMES - Forlorn Kia, and R175,000 parking fee, wait in vain for owner
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Sunday Times News By JEFF WICKS, 2017-02-12 00:04:00.0

Forlorn Kia, and R175,000 parking fee, wait in vain for owner

This Kia has already collected R175,000 in parking fees at King Shaka International Airport.
Image: THULI DLAMINI

If airport parking gives you a headache, spare a thought for a Johannesburg businessman whose car has racked up the mother of all parking bills - about R175,000 - at Durban's King Shaka International Airport.

The gleam of the dinged-up white Kia Carens hatchback has long since faded - it is now covered with mould and rust after spending more than 2000 days in the sun in the airport's long-term parking lot.

At R80 a day, Airports Company South Africa estimates that if the parking ticket was returned, the bill would be almost twice the estimated value of the R100,000 car.

All four tyres are flat and the 2012 expiry date on the licence disk has come and gone. The car has a smashed brake light, a badly dented rear bumper. Inside, empty cardboard boxes are piled high and there is a thick layer of dust on the dashboard.

But where is the car's registered owner, 58-year-old Robin Patrick Knowles? And why hasn't he collected his car?

Airports Company spokesman Colin Naidoo said it had made every effort to contact Knowles, a Johannesburg businessman.

He said that the car would remain in the lot until it was claimed by Knowles, or by a financial institution.

"We cannot randomly remove vehicles," Naidoo said.

According to available public documents, Knowles remains an active director of six companies which range from a promotions agency to an aviation firm. The four Gauteng properties listed in his name were a dead end; none of the occupants at the houses in Fourways knew his whereabouts.

A former business partner, Herman Mabona, said he had not seen or heard from Knowles in more than a decade.

Mabona had resigned as a director from Candy Floss Promotions, a Johannesburg-based events company.

"He was in and out of the country. If I recall, he [Knowles] also had US citizenship," said Mabona.