Don’t let your vehicle damage put a dent in your pocket

The latest fourth quarter 2022 DebtBusters index survey shows that South Africans can buy 33% less with the money in their wallets than six years ago when cumulative inflation is factored in. In fact many South Africans have been forced to supplement their income with unsecured borrowing.

The last thing one needs in these uncertain times, is a vehicle accident which can leave both your car (and pocket) wrecked. 

Charles Canning, Chairman of the South African Motor Body Repairers Association (SAMBRA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), says to avoid any unhappy surprises later on, it is important to get assistance from a reputable motor body repairer and ask the right questions upfront.

“Who is going to repair the damage, will be the last thing on your mind if you’re involved in an accident. Priorities on the scene are things like checking for injuries, getting the other driver’s details, finding out if anyone witnessed the accident and speaking to your insurance company,” he says.

“In truth, the scene of an accident is often chaotic. Before you know it your car is towed away – to who knows where really – without you having a clue what the actual damage is.” Tow truck companies will often refer a motorist to certain workshops for repairs. Canning says this is not always due to the high quality of service provided by these workshops, but because tow truck companies receive commission for jobs referred. ”SA motorists involved in accidents should not be forced into making ill-considered decisions. The motorist has the right to choose who should assist in the recovery of the vehicle,” he says,

Canning warns there can be many hidden costs in car repairs, even if you are insured, but you can soften the blow significantly by ensuring you get quality workmanship.

“One way of doing this is to only use an accredited motor body repairer,” he said.

A good motor body repairer will fix any external and internal damage to the body and structure of a car, like repairing a bumper, a door, a bonnet, a fender, aligning the structure or respraying. If there is any mechanical work to be done, most reputable repairers have a specialist mechanic on site that can tend to any accident-related mechanical repairs.

Any worthy motor body repairer will expect customers to ask questions and be able to put their minds at ease with comprehensive answers.

Six important questions to ask your motor body repairer

1.         Which automotive trade associations does your business belong to, and is your business an accredited member of that association?

2.         Does the company have a good reputation and do you use authentic, high-quality parts and materials?  Do your research and check the social channels for satisfied or disgruntled customer comments.

3.         Will you supply me with a detailed description of repairs and what methods will be used to repair my car?

4.         How experienced is the team who will be working on my car?

5.         Do you offer a guarantee on workmanship, paint and parts?

6.         How long will it take to repair my car and will you keep me posted when delays occur?

7.         Does your company provide a courtesy vehicle, and if so, what are the terms ?

“Ultimately, the owner wants their car repaired professionally and without it losing any value – as, unfortunately, any accident repair is deemed to cause depreciation. This is why issues of good workmanship, new and factory approved repair parts and fair pricing, as well as quick turnaround on repairs is what consumers should request and expect. By using a repairer accredited with SAMBRA, you know they can be held accountable for the quality of workmanship and that you have recourse from RMI or the Ombudsman if things go wrong,” concludes Canning.

Charles Canning, National Chairman of SAMBRA

IR seminar invite – Operational requirements and incapacity

We are pleased to announce that the RMI will be presenting an online seminar entitled – Operational requirements and incapacity

-When:  Friday, 31 March 2023

-Time:  10h00 – 12h00

-Platform:  Microsoft Teams

-Cost:  See registration form below

-Presenter:  Janina Kalidass

Some of the topics of discussion will be:

  • What are operational requirements?
  • Retrenchments – the procedure to follow.
  • The role of Trade Unions in the retrenchment process.
  • What severance pay is due to the retrenched employee?
  • Incapacity due to poor work performance.
  • Is it misconduct or poor work performance?
  • Incapacity due to ill health.
  • Processes to follow for incapacity.

You are invited to secure your attendance by completing the registration form below. A certificate of attendance will be provided to each delegate.

Please find the banking details and registration form below.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Benefits of belonging to the RMI

Belonging to the RMI makes business sense. Below a few reminders.

Legacy and unity

• We’ve been representing the retail motor industry for more than 110 years.

• With more than 8,000-member businesses, our unity is our strength.

Your voice

RMI represents the industry at:

• Centralised wage negotiations.

• Various MIBCO and Industry-related Boards and committee structures.

• Various South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) committees and working groups.

• The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS), defending our industry when compulsory specifications and standards are compromised.

• The Moto Health Care Fund, Industry Provident Funds and the Sick, Accident and Maternity Pay Fund.

• Meetings hosted by reputable organisations recognised by government, big business, consumers and relevant stakeholders like Business Unity SA (BUSA).

Supports your business

• Professional industrial relations advice ensuring procedural and substantive fairness when disciplining staff.

• Chairing of disciplinary hearings and AUTOMATIC entry at the CCMADRC and Labour Court.

• Exceptional CPA support at the National Consumer Commission (NCC) and the Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa (MIOSA).

• Facilitation of a business-to-business complaint where both parties are RMI members, with a complaint resolution rate in excess of 95%.

• Training needs and representation via merSETA and W&RSETA.

• Industry-specific products like RMI4BEE, RMI4LAW, RMI4OHS and RMI4SURE.

Keeps you in the know

• Industry labour relations seminars.

• Automobil magazine and weekly web letters.

• Commenting on industry topics in the media, and participating in and hosting numerous conventions and shows.

Win big with Automobil magazine

We at Automobil value your readership and will be rewarding one lucky reader with a R10 000 prize.

Each month (From the February 2023 issue) there will be a set of questions, the answers to which can be found on the pages of that issue of Automobil. Each month, up until the July issue, you can enter as many times as you like. The winner will be drawn randomly on the 31st of July 2023.

To view the first round of questions, enter and for the Terms & Conditions of this competition please click on the following link: Automobil Competition Entry (

Feb and March editions here: Automobil Digital Issues – Retail Motor Industry Organisation (

Good luck

South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) plans nationwide shutdown – 20 March 2023

Explanatory note:

On 15 March 2023, the RMI circulated a newsflash regarding the nationwide shutdown planned for 20 March 2023 (below)

In conclusion, the newsflash stated:

Please note that since the Main Agreement has not been published yet, the penalty clause is therefore not applicable. The day following the protest action is Human Rights Day (Tuesday, 21 March 2023), which is a public holiday and employees are therefore to be paid for the public holiday in terms of the Public Holidays Act and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act respectively, irrespective of their attendance or non-attendance on Monday 20 March 2023’.

Members are advised that mention of the penalty clause was made in reference to a common practice in industry in terms of which the clause is applied, when in fact it had been removed from the Main Agreement years ago. This practice is therefore no longer permitted. Although reference to the clause will have no effect on the manner in which employees have to be paid for the public holiday (21 March 2023), the following is to be noted:

  • The main agreement has not yet been published and currently the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, together with the Public Holidays Act applies for purposes of remuneration for the public holiday;
  • The new main agreement (yet to be published), like the previous one, will not contain a penalty clause and it is therefore not applicable, even if the main agreement was published.

We apologise for any inconvenience. If you have any queries in this regard, please contact your local IR Specialist:  IR Contacts – Retail Motor Industry Organisation (  

Industry unites to launch Whistle Blower Hotline

In its drive to promote a cleaner industry, the Tyres Equipment Parts Association (TEPA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI),  has officially launched a whistle blower hotline where cases of illicit trading activity may be reported by both industry and consumer.

Vishal Premlall, national director of TEPA, says the initiative has support from key stakeholders in the tyre and parts environment including the SA Tyre Manufacturing Conference (SATMC), representing the four main local tyre manufacturers in the country including Continental Tyre South Africa, Goodyear South Africa, Bridgestone SA and Sumitomo Tyres as well as the Tyre Importers Association of South Africa (TIASA).  On the parts side the initiative is also broadly supported by most of the major parts manufacturers and distributors.

“We know that unfortunately traders at the bottom end of the supply chain are bringing in parts through compromised channels of very poor quality, not fit for purpose parts that do not adhere to local regulatory standards,” says Premlall.

Although it is almost impossible to quantify, there is a significant cost to the sector in loss of revenue from the growing influx of  these illegal and inferior quality automotive parts creeping into the market.

These sub-standard products then find themselves falling into the hands of cash strapped consumers who do not realise the full impact of utilising inferior or counterfeit parts. “They are not only compromising consumers’ health and safety but that of their loved ones,” he says, “The problem with these parts is there is also very little, if any traceability, no technical support and no recourse for the consumer.” 

This is the primary reason why TEPA and other industry stakeholders have joined hands to launch this initiative. “Both consumers and industry will now be able to report cases of illicit trading activity on the TEPA Whistleblower and hopefully this will bring us one step closer to reducing the problem. Proliferation of illicit parts is so broad that the wider the reach of this initiative is, the better the chances are of exposing the perpetrators,” he says.

In a media briefing earlier this month, SATMC chairperson, Lubin Ozoux, concurred saying that illegal tyre imports are rising in South Africa, posing a risk to road users and jobs in the local industry. “The SATMC is working with law enforcement agencies to identify and investigate cases of illicit tyre trade, and we are advocating for stronger measures to prevent this trade from happening in the first place. There are rising incidents of misdeclaration of tyre consignments and rerouting of imports through neighbouring countries to avoid tyre duties, environment levies and permits,” he said.

This illicit tyre trade had far-reaching impacts on the industry, as well as the safety of drivers and passengers on the road.

Charl de Villiers, Chairman of the Tyre Importers Association of South Africa (TIASA) concurs saying, “We welcome the joining of forces between the three associations. Curbing illicit trade practices will be virtually impossible without the commitment from all industry players and their members at all levels of business. TIASA is very concerned that should an anti-dumping margin be implemented, in the absence of effective policing, it will serve as a further incentive for those who are already making themselves guilty of duty circumvention to increase their volumes, placing further strain on legitimate traders.

“We are at a crossroad. As industry we have to stand up against illicit trade to ensure we protect not only the sustainability of legitimate Importer’s businesses, but also the consumer from buying inferior products entering our market,” he says.

Compliance is absolutely key, and TEPA will continue actively engaging the relevant compliance authorities to prevent these parts from entering the automotive aftermarket. “We believe that these partnerships between industry and the statutory compliance authorities will go a long way to rid the country of unscrupulous trading activity.”

Premlall says he is confident this initiative will succeed based on the successes already achieved in the petroleum sector where fines, penalties and suspensions have been successfully executed. In that instance SAPRA, The South African Petroleum Retailers Association, set up a hotline and the awareness created has made movement by illicit operators significantly harder. In a space of 18 months over 200 cases reported, of which over 50% have been investigated resulting in the necessary sanction.

As the TEPA Whistleblower gains in momentum, Premlall says TEPA will be advocating for the formation of a Policing Compliance Forum for illicit parts which can have representation from all role players. “We believe this will send a strong message out to these traders who are not only endangering consumers lives, but also impacting the profitability of our sector,” he concludes.

Vishal Premlall - TEPA director

Automechanika Johannesburg

Automechanika Johannesburg, South Africa’s premier trade fair for the automotive service industry, will return to the Jhb Expo Centre from 5-7 September 2023, targeting trade visitors from the Sub-Saharan region. The 2022 edition of the exhibition was highly successful, providing a valuable platform for local and international exhibitors to connect and engage in industry-related conversations and facilitating numerous business transactions. Automechanika Johannesburg remains a key event for those in the industry looking to stay up-to-date with the latest trends, products, and developments, while also providing opportunities for networking and skills development.

The 2023 edition of the event is expected to attract even more exhibitors and visitors from around the world, promoting business opportunities and knowledge exchange within the automotive service industry. With a focus on sustainability and digitalization, Automechanika Johannesburg 2023 will showcase the latest trends, technologies, and innovations in the sector, while providing a platform for networking and collaboration among industry professionals. For more information visit:

SAFTU plans nationwide shutdown – 20 March 2023

Kindly be informed that our offices have received notice advising that SAFTU will proceed with protest action commencing on the 20th day of March 2023 at 00h05am and ending on the 21st day of March 2023 at 07h00am. All provinces across the country and all major cities may experience protest action in support of SAFTU’s concerns over the socio-economic challenges affecting workers and the working class in general.

All procedural requirements have been met therefore the protest action has been approved by NEDLAC, and as such, is regarded as being protected in terms of the Labour Relations Act. Accordingly, employees who decide to participate in the protest will be protected by the statutory rules regarding protected strike action, and consequently may not be disciplined for participating. 

Members are reminded that the ‘no-work-no-pay’ principle shall apply during this period. Furthermore, this principle will apply in instances where members receive notification from their employees informing them that they are unable to report for duty on the day due to the unrest or due to them receiving threats or being intimidated.

The common law principle of supervening impossibility of performance is invoked and members are absolved of their obligation to remunerate such employees for that day since performance of their service has become temporarily impossible through no fault of the employer party concerned.

Any further information received regarding this matter will be circulated to all members. If you have any queries in this regard, please contact your local IR Specialist:  IR Contacts – Retail Motor Industry Organisation (

IR seminar invite – Contracts of employment

We are pleased to announce that the RMI will be presenting an online seminar entitled – Contracts of employment

-When:  17 March 2023

-Time:  10h00 – 12h00

-Platform:  Microsoft Teams

-Cost:  See registration form below

-Presenter:  Ross Simon

Some of the topics of discussion will be:

  • What is a contract of employment legally?
  • The importance of a contract of employment.
  • Where does MIBCO fit in?
  • What defines an employee?
  • What defines an employer?
  • The termination of contracts.
  • Restraints of Trade.

You are invited to secure your attendance by completing the registration form below. A certificate of attendance will be provided to each delegate.

Please find the banking details and registration form below.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Excitement builds for SAMBRA Awards

This month on 23 March 2023, SAMBRA, the South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association (SAMBRA), will host its annual Awards evening in Gauteng.

The annual SAMBRA Awards have become a regular much-awaited feature on the automotive calendar honouring top vehicle insurers and OEMs, as well as paint suppliers for their contribution to the sustainability of motor body repairers in South Africa.

The annual survey is independently managed and audited by Lightstone Consumer. It targets SAMBRA members nationwide to rate insurers, OEMs, as well as paint suppliers. Factors considered include relationship satisfaction, quality of vehicle damage assessment and repairers’ interaction with claims staff, payment speed, customer service, green practices, training programmes and product support to name just a few.

“The outcome of the survey has become an important measure of success and progress in the insurance, OEM and paint supplier sectors,” says Charles Canning, National Chairman of SAMBRA.

“We are expecting about 100 top industry representatives at the cocktail event preceded by a day of some high-level conference time with representatives from the leading OEM’s.”

Canning reinforced the fact that the SAMBRA national executive committee was striving hard to maintain and improve collaborative business partnerships between members on the ground, insurers, OEMs and suppliers in order to manage industry critical issues.

Charles Canning, National Chairman of SAMBRA