The RMI continuously strives to inform and guide members regarding legislation and regulations regarding the operating of a business in South Africa. The object of the process is not to try and enforce the laws or act as a watchdog, but rather to help guide members through the huge number of regulations and laws that are mandatory in business in South Africa.
The RMI appreciates that members often do not have the time to read and interpret all the existing and breaking legislation. As a value-add to members, the RMI accordingly attempts to interpret and inform members on all new pieces of legislation. The information provided by the RMI does not supersede the laws and the business owner remains responsible for their own actions in line with the law.
This process of support has been most visible over this PANDEMIC period. During the Lockdown period the RMI and TEPA have been working extremely hard to ensure that there is no confusion amongst the member networks regarding the requirements of the laws.
In order to better appreciate the magnitude of the task, the following are the statistics (not limited to) as at the time of writing this article:
Add to this the Labour Act, Health Act, Transport Act, and numerous others that had to be referenced in determining any interpretation before such could be circulated.
In addition to this work, there were ongoing representations at Ministerial levels in attempts to secure as early an opening of the industry as possible. The RMI in association with NAAMSA achieved success for the entire motor industry in this regard. There were also representations to increase the threshold of qualification for support from R50 million to R100 million which allowed many more of our members in the motor industry to participate in the scheme.
TEPA kept an ongoing communication channel open with members using the TELEGRAM APP with approximately 83 communications to the member subscribers. At every junction, as the regulations changed, the RMI as an organisation, quickly collated, interpreted and provided guidance on the correct way to proceed, without falling foul of the LAW at the time.
This guidance and interpretation which has been the hallmark of the RMI in protecting members from being held liable for their actions, is in continuation of the same processes that were followed with the Waste Tyre Plan and the MIOSA structures. Here again the RMI worked continuously to ensure that what had been published as LAW was being implemented as best as possible and that the members understood the implications of the LAWS. The RMI, in addition to the guidance processes, has also not overlooked its responsibility to seek to mitigate any of these LAWS being applied in-correctly by the authorities. In the case of the Waste Tyre industry, the RMI is in constant contact with the Waste Management Bureau to assist with TEPA members’ complaints and to provide guidance to the Bureau directly. The RMI has spent untold hours in ongoing consultations regarding the applications of the LAWS and continues to do so at the highest levels.
TEPA has also worked with the Department of Employment and Labour (Chief Inspectorate) to ensure that where no option but compliance exists, such as OHS, that the members are able to access recognised and reputable support services at nominal rates. These costs are far below the industry norm via CSRS (Complete Specialised Retail Solutions), the specialists in the industry with whom the RMI has entered into a Service Level Agreement on behalf of members to ensure not only compliance, but also suitable service delivery from the specialist supplier.
TEPA negotiated a specialised insurance package directly for the Tyre and Parts Dealers during 2015 when significant savings were available. The offer has since changed somewhat to account for the scale of economies in the take up of the product. However the option still exists to obtain a quotation for the bespoke insurance package through the RMI.
The RMI has, as one of its core strategies, the requirement to continuously lobby on behalf of members at all levels of the industry and government. This function is consistently and continuously driven by both the Associations and the RMI regulatory compliance department.
TEPA works with the SABS and the NRCS on an ongoing basis to provide industry feedback to the 18 technical committees and sub-committees, as well as working with the NRCS on Tyre, vehicle building and the component compulsory specifications, which aim to ensure quality products reach the members.
The RMI and TEPA are committed to continuing to provide a superior quality service to members in line with all aspects of running a business that are least understood, considered and implemented. These include all the laws, bylaws, regulations, standards and specifications pertaining to the Motor Industry of South Africa.
The proposed measures for COVID-19 tax relief were published in draft bills on 1 April, with revised draft bills published on 1 May and 19 May.
The most recent iteration of the Disaster Management Tax Relief Bills made substantial changes to the calculations and requirements for the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) relief offered to employers.
This has created a lot of confusion for employers, notes Yolandi Esterhuizen, registered tax practitioner an compliance manager, Sage Africa & Middle East.
As such, employers that calculated their claims as per the draft legislation in April will have to revise their claim and align it with the bills published on 19 May.
Since some changes are retrospective, employers will need to apply the changes to claims dating to April 1. The first set of bills proposed the following:
The revised bills published on 19 May made the following changes:
Most of these changes only have to be applied from May to July and would not affect the claims an employer already made for April, said Esterhuizen.
Due to the ETI calculation and the new pro-rata requirements mean that most employers may have filed inaccurate claims for April and possibly for May, too.
If an employer claimed more in a month than it was supposed to, it will need to restate the EMP201.
If it claimed a lesser amount than it was entitled to, it can add the difference in the ETI value to the next month’s claim on the EMP201, said Esterhuizen.
This should help clear the confusion and save time for employers. The good news is, these calculations should automatically be applied if you have an electronic payroll system, she said.
This story was originally published by Business Tech.
With the economy finally opening up businesses in the tyre industry is adapting to the new normal.
Hedley Judd, National Director of the Tyre, Equipment, Parts Association (TEPA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), says business is reasonably back to normal trading levels in the rural and country areas where they have seen a 75 – 80% return to normal business but is still erratic in the metropolitan areas. “We are seeing a spread ranging from 40% levels to the 75% mark,” he says. The effect of the lockdown on aftermarket component manufacturing is also being felt in sectors, but not to the extent at this stage to be debilitating to the business.
Judd says of significance the explosion in digital communication during lockdown has seen many dealers who traditionally shied away from technology embracing the systems and in fact finding opportunities in the sharing of technical specifications and even being able to share stock to assist other dealers in trouble with traditional supply. Lockdown has also fast tracked collaboration between three of the aftermarket group of associations. TEPA, together with the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) and the Automotive Remanufacturers’ Association (ARA), for example have got together with Gondolier, the importers of Jonnesway tools, to release the first in a series of podcasts for members. The podcasts will focus on the launch and development of a support program which will provide members with an informative and educational series focusing on tools, how to use them and how to evaluate the real value of quality tools
“There is no doubt however that our members, who represent 1 100 of the tyre equipment and parts dealers nationally, have felt the stress of lockdown. Adherence to the regulations comes at a cost and many struggled to access the various financial relief measures through corporate funding mechanism, UIF and TERS. “Fortunately, the RMI stepped in and offered members the assistance of the Motor Industry Staff Association, MISA, to facilitate the claims process for TERS benefits on behalf of the RMI members’ employees. This came as a huge relief for those who made use of the system at the time.”
Judd says the industry has also adapted well to the Sanitisation protocols and only reported a very limited number of COVID infections at the outset of level 4.
As businesses across South Africa adjust to “business abnormal” or “the new business normal”, Judd says he is not anticipating too much change in the automotive aftermarket industry. “We don’t believe the functional demands of the industry will change much although we do anticipate the lessons learnt during lockdown in terms of our digitisation will have a profound influence on the way the supply chain works and how business is conducted where a physical presence is not mandatory for the efficacy of the work being conducted,” concludes Judd.
After months of negotiation and planning, the Automotive Remanufacturers’ Association (ARA), an association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), will be piloting its “powered by gas” programme, commenced on 22 June at two of its selected workshops in Randburg, Gauteng and Virginia in the Free State.
Attie Serfontein, ARA National Director, says interest in autogas was first identified as an ARA project in 2017 and the ARA committee were tasked with investigating and exploring possibilities of autogas technology/energy in the Automotive Aftermarket Retail Sector (REMAN) arena. “ARA has made excellent progress to date liaising with autogas specialists and other key industry players to the point where we are now able to implement a National gas-conversion project, piloting at Almo Engineering and Randburg Diesel and Turbo. Both owners, Frank Mac NICOL and Johan Botha respectively, have been involved with gas conversions for many years. The project is being run in conjunction with gas specialist consultant, Eddie Cooke, ARA Members from all major Regions and other expert industry stakeholders.
Serfontein says earlier this year ARA toured the country to ensure there would be sufficient specialist workshops to manage the conversions and subsequent maintenance and repairs on any units installed across Southern Africa. “This includes both the commercial and passenger vehicle car-parc,” says Serfontein.
COVID-19 unfortunately stalled the start of the pilot (with the brent crude oil price playing a crucial role) but the teams are now ready to move forward. Training will commence via a virtual platform from Italy, where the supplier of the goods are situated, to South Africa. “The training will be ground-breaking in the sense that the required skill will be transferred (virtually) in order to do a successful conversion on the internal combustion engine, as we know it. In South Africa a new qualification – the Engine and Fuels Systems Management Mechanic – has been developed and registered to facilitate this,” says Frank Mac NICOL, ARA Chairman and owner of Almo Engineering.
The workshops will each supply a “guinea pig” vehicle for the test period. The technicians will first undergo virtual training via electronic media from Italy, where after the two vehicles will be converted to run on LPG. The training and conversion exercise will run over a period of five days.
After completion, testing and monitoring will be performed over a period of two to three months. “The two vehicles are equipped with tracker systems, which will be used to monitor driving habits, speeds, fuel consumption etc. Once all data has been collected and compared with previous records we can safely roll the program out to workshops throughout the country,” says Mac NICOL.
Serfontein says ARA is very positive about progress made thus far. Gas is such a great alternative energy option for motorists. “Autogas conversions are relatively simple to effect. Further, the payback time on conversions is modest, depending almost entirely on mileage. Autogas is a great alternative energy option for the immediate future.
Current research by a participant gas conversion engineering company, estimates that conversion of state vehicles would immediately produce savings of over 60% – a higher figure than in the private sector due to the factor that gas cannot be stolen, unlike petrol. It further estimates a break-even time period for a conversion at six to 12 months, depending on daily mileage,” he concludes.
CAPTION: Gas conversion at Randburg Diesel and Turbo on commercial vehicles have taken place for a number of years. The pilot will now look at sedan vehicles.
Have you ever jumped from a significant height with straight legs? It’s not a comfortable feeling is it? That’s because there’s nothing to absorb the shock that’s been created, and so that shock has the potential to cause great damage. That’s why bent legs help: they help to absorb the shock.
The same principle applies when you have a car accident. Of course, stepping out of a vehicle that looks much like a crumpled tissue is sure to make you wonder just how safe you are. Most of us would feel more secure if we believed we had the protection of a rigid, unyielding tank. But, in fact, the opposite is true.
According to Richard Green, National Director of SAMBRA (South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association) an association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), most car manufacturers develop crumple zones on automobiles because they help to absorb the shock of an impact and to make sure that the force of the impact is absorbed within the crumple zone, rather than being transferred to the safety cell which surrounds the driver and passengers.
This is a delicate balancing act. Green points out, “On the one hand, a car’s frame has to be strong enough to resist a certain amount of force, but too much resistance may lead to injury for the car’s inhabitants. Getting this balance right means considering the size and weight of the vehicle. You also need to think about the force that may arise if a car collides with a moving object as opposed to a stationary one. All of these dynamics must be taken into account,” Green says.
He adds that it’s not all up to the vehicle manufacturer. The driver and passenger also have a role to play, by ensuring they are wearing seatbelts. “If not, the idea of a safety cell is compromised,” Green explains. “No matter how carefully a car’s crumple zones are designed, it’s inevitable that some force will remain unabsorbed. However, when you wear your seatbelt, you make sure that this is mitigated as far as possible.”
This raises another question. If crumple zones make sure that most of the force of impact is absorbed, or at least directed away from those inside the car, why not make the whole car a crumple zone? The answer to this, says Green, is because the ceilings, floors and doors folding on the passengers would spell certain disaster. “That’s why the crumple zones are usually located at the front and back of the car, while the passenger cabin is far more rigid. Not that passengers are completely exposed or vulnerable, though. Where crumple zones handle external force, airbags ensure the driver and passenger do not make contact, upon impact, with the rigid dashboard or steering wheel inside the car,” he says.
The capsule where inhabitants sit, the safety cage, is also reinforced with pillars running the length of the car (from floor to ceiling), side impact bars, the roof and the floor itself. These features ensure that the safety cage maintains its shape in the event of a collision.
Crumple zones have, in fact, been a key part of car design since as far back as 1932, when they were first introduced by Bela Barenyi, an engineer for Mercedes-Benz. Although cars have obviously changed and evolved dramatically since then, Barenyi’s concept of a vehicle sectioned into a rigid central zone surrounded by the front and back crumple zones remains unchanged.
Numerous tests have shown that a crumple zone can stop a car upon collision in 0.2 seconds as opposed to 0.1 second if the car, theoretically, did not have crumple zones. “In this scenario, the crumple zone therefore literally cuts the force of the crash in half. All told, it means that you really have nothing to worry about if your car is severely damaged in a crash. Although it seems very wrong that an expensive item should fold in on itself in this manner, your car is doing exactly what it should – and making sure that you remain as safe as possible,” Green concludes.
As the electric car movement continues to gain ground, people may question whether there will still be a future for mechanics.
Electric cars are not the only threat to traditional mechanical skills, however. As cars become ever more sophisticated, technological ability becomes a necessity for the people working with them. As we progress further, it’s likely that artisanal skills will be replaced by skills like coding and data analysis.
But, according to Pieter Niemand, National Director of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud Association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), this doesn’t mean the need for artisanal skills will disappear altogether. “True, electronic cars are set to become a more common feature on our roads in the next 10 years or so. But the reality is with vehicles becoming increasingly more complex, workshop technicians, or mechanics as we know them, will not only have to be able to work on brakes, suspension and the like, but also have the necessary tech skills to manage high tech cars which are literally becoming like a computer on wheels. There is no doubt the motor industry has much to offer enthusiastic young, bright people eager to learn and wanting to make money,” says Niemand.
He says as technology becomes ever more advanced – and not only in relation to electronic cars – it’s imperative that mechanics invest in upskilling on an ongoing basis. It’s the responsibility of employers and employees alike to ensure that they remain abreast of the latest developments. As much as a third of the curriculum has been updated already, and it’s vital that mechanics are familiar with these changes. “The good news is that opportunities for such upskilling abound,” says Niemand.
That’s reassuring for petrol and motor mechanics. But opportunities remain for diesel mechanics, too. While it’s true that opportunities in the motor sector may change as advancements progress, especially in the light vehicle space, there are many other areas where diesel mechanics can add their skills, such as marine diesel engines, fixed base diesel engines, and diesel locomotives. The medium and heavy vehicle space will certainly remain in need of mechanics’ skills, as the long distances undertaken by these vehicles mean that there is always a great need for repair and maintenance work. Added to this, the lifespan of such vehicles is significantly longer than their lighter counterparts.
Also important to bear in mind is the cost factor, which makes electronic technology out of reach for many South Africans. It may therefore be more prudent to focus on the soft hybrid market, and for mechanics to upskill themselves with these vehicles in mind.
In the meantime MIWA, in conjunction with the RMI, has done much to ensure that premium quality training is available for members of the automotive aftermarket industry. The RMI has also set up a self-employment project known as the New Venture Creation Project, which provides training modules for learners, allowing them to complete a 138-credit qualification which is accredited by merSETA. A large number of participants on this programme operate businesses where the core activity is mechanical. MIWA recognise and acknowledge the support and assistance for these entrepreneurs
“This initiative aims to address the need for high quality training, but it remains the responsibility of the industry to ensure that young artisans have the opportunity to gain workplace experience too,” concludes Niemand.
Buying a second hand car can be an exciting purchase and a good economical decision provided there are no unexpected surprises. Typically, the reliability of a second hand car is at the forefront of most buyers’ mind. Meanwhile, to others, the fear of purchasing a vehicle that was previously involved in a serious accident could be that deal breaker.
Cars that have been severely damaged are often repaired and end up back on the road, but the quality of the repair job and the severity of the damage play a huge part in ensuring the safety and roadworthiness of a vehicle. Richard Green, National Director of the South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association (SAMBRA), an association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) says the problem in South Africa is that there is no way of checking if that car has been written off previously in an accident and this makes it difficult for consumers to access if the apparently showroom-condition car they bought is exactly what it claims to be?
Green says that just last week a customer bought in a two year old Nissan into a SAMBRA Repair Shop in Bela Bela. With just 28 267km on the clock the owner had no idea her vehicle had been in an accident previously and had been so poorly repaired that is was structurally unsafe. “The front body bumper absorber, which is a structural and stabilising component in most cars, and this case forms part of the front cradle panel had been heated or welded together so poorly that the metal strength was compromised causing the panel to start rusting, showing early signs of metal fatigue. As it forms part of the crumpling zone of a vehicle, it should definitely have been replaced with a new part.” Green says there were so many other serious repair faults on the car too. “Of concern is that the vehicles had a temporary licence which expires on the 1 June, a clear indicator that the vehicle had previously been deregistered. The car should never have still carried a Code 2 Registration and for the unsuspecting buyer it is now almost impossible to track the original sellers.”
The consumer in question had no way of checking the history of the car. “Not only does this have serious legal and cost ramifications, but it talks to the safety of motorists and a growing pool of un-roadworthy and perhaps even stolen vehicles on our roads,” says Green.
“If SAIA would just agree to making write off information available on a public register where the VIN number of the vehicle can be checked and the buyer can then be properly informed prior to making a used car purchase decision, this type of circumstance and the massive consequential damages could be avoided. The information is routinely forwarded to the South African Insurance Association (SAIA) from all insurance companies. SAIA then creates a Vehicle Salvage Data (VSD) system. The VSD system contains information on salvage vehicles. These are vehicles that have been deregistered by the respective insurers and thus declared salvage, after policyholders have been indemnified of their motor claims. A vehicle is considered salvage by the non-life insurance industry if it is ‘written-off’ following, for instance, a motor accident.
According to SAIA if the database is made public, this would be unlawful and allow criminals to have access to the entire non-life insurance industry database of scrapped vehicle VINs leading to a dramatic increase in false financing and insurance of cloned vehicles.
“We appreciate that much of the information contained in the VSD system such as the owner’s ID/company registration number is confidential and should be kept confidential.We have no argument at all with the purpose and integrity of the VSD system and we agree with SAIA about the dangers of releasing the full register of confidential information. Our argument is that if the primary reason the VSD system database was created was to combat crime, how come this is still such a big problem?”
Green says the fact is simple. These “uneconomical to repair” cars are still being bought by fraudsters and syndicates on salvage yards with Code 2 papers and are being, in many cases, poorly repaired, and then sold onto dealers or to unsuspecting consumers who have no way of checking the bona fide history of their second hand purchase. The papers of these same vehicles are also being used to re-register stolen vehicles as bona fide 2nd hand (code 2) vehicles.
“So in essence the very two things SAIA say they are trying to avoid, criminal activity and an impact on the safety of motorists, they are enabling by not making the information available.”
TransUnion’s Kriben Reddy states that not being able to check if a vehicle has been previously written off is a significant problem as there are many vehicles being cloned, especially in a consumer-to-consumer environment. “Consumers could be better empowered and enabled through the access to additional data on a used vehicle. As it stands consumers access to additional information is limited,” says Reddy.
It seems clear the conversation is not over and there is merit for all parties to revisit a system which is clearly not working.
When the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) workshops around the country opened for business after the initial period of Level 5 lockdown regulations, they faced a new set of protocols and trading conditions.
Customer needs have changed significantly during lockdown, and trust has become more important than ever as people seek to ensure they deal with entities that can keep them safe while providing great service.
The most critical starting point has been preparing a comprehensive risk strategy to ensure members’ workshops are ready for business. Each member was provided with a comprehensive set of sanitisation protocol posters during May for display in their workshops. These included staff, supplier, vehicle, workplace and customer protocols, all designed to keep both employees and customers safe.
We realise that we have to take these precautions very seriously. If anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 enters the workplace, the business will be forced to close and all staff will be quarantined. We know the first two months after the implementation of lockdown have been especially difficult for our members who have introduced a phased-in approach to restarting their businesses. This has helped ease the pressure of paying a full complement of salaries until the business has gained momentum. We remind members that the MIWA team is here to support and help.
The Chinese word for ‘crisis’ is frequently invoked in Western motivational speaking as being composed of two Chinese characters signifying ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’ respectively. “Although this interpretation is not strictly correct there is a message, and that is ‘Crisis presents an opportunity to come back stronger’.
During the initial opening phase members have had to relook at a number of different processes and tasks usually conducted by a full complement of staff. This has given many business owners a new perspective and a chance to find a better way of doing things. One thing is for sure – we are definitely not going back to business as normal and no doubt we never will.
This is really a chance to improve our businesses without compromising quality. It is a time for collaboration and a time to work collectively to build a stronger and more resilient industry.