To prevent the cloning of motor vehicles and the use of parts from stolen motor vehicles, micro-dotting of motor vehicles was recommended and the implementation supported by Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) as early as 2003.
Microdots are disc-shaped particles, typically 1mm or less in diameter, containing a unique identification number. In the case of motor vehicles, thousands (minimum of 10,000 for most vehicle types) of these microdots are sprayed on a number of overt and covert places. It is proven that it is close to impossible for criminals to remove all the microdots. The microdots effectively provides the vehicle with its own DNA. There is a once off cost to fit microdots and no monthly payments.
The fitment of microdots to new vehicles and vehicles presented for police clearance became compulsory from 1 September 2012. Every fitment is recorded on the National Traffic Information System (NaTIS). By the end of January 2019, NaTIS statistics showed that 5.06 million vehicles registered in South Africa had microdots fitted. This represents more than 40% of the total live motor vehicle population of South Africa at the time and 100% of all vehicles manufactured and/or imported after 1 September 2012.
The use of microdots to identify vehicles has become a standard practice within the SAPS and forms an integral part of vehicle identification and the investigation process. Microdots are central to the process of identifying cloned vehicles. It is however rarely used by motor vehicle dealers and other businesses to identify possible cloned vehicles.
It is incomprehensible that microdots are not used by everyone as a standard to mark assets and later identify possible stolen motor vehicles and other valuable items.
BACSA, with the help of the accredited members of the Microdot Association of Southern Africa, DataDot Technology, Veridot and Recoveri Tag what’s Yours, are currently training more than 2,000 SAPS Designated Second-Hand Goods Officers to enforce the legal requirements of the Second-Hand Goods Act, 2009. More than 16,000 SAPS members, mostly detectives, have already been trained to use the technology.
This article was first published by the RMI