Keep an eye out for the February issue of Automobil

The February issue of Automobil will go live next week Friday, the 3rd of February.

In this issue of Automobil we focus on the Automotive Remanufacturing Association, get to know the RMI’s Consumer Affairs Managers and catch up with Jock Wood.

Regular features include automotive and industry news as well as updates on the latest new models and motorsport in addition to informative articles on finance, labour, legal topics and much more.

Look out for the February issue of Automobil, which will be landing in your inbox on Friday the 3rd of February.

A second chance to follow your dream career

Last week, The Department of Basic Education released the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination results for the Class of 2022.

As is the case every year, pupils have no doubt been stressing that their marks will not be good enough to enrol at a university, private college or a technical and vocational education and training college.

The really positive news is that even if your marks are a little disappointing, this is not the end of road. Many of these young people will be given a second chance to improve their marks through the Department’s innovative Second Chance Matric programme which provides that second chance to meet the requirements of the NSC or SC and obtain a Grade 12 matric certificate.

The Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) strongly supports this programme. Louis van Huyssteen, RMI National Training Director says of the 923 460 pupils who wrote their National Senior Certificate exams at the end of 2022, many may be keen to take up the Second Chance programme option. “For those that are successful, we encourage you to consider one of the many qualifications being offered at TVET colleges around the country.”

There are 50 registered and accredited public TVET Colleges in South Africa which operate on approximately 364 campuses spread across the rural and urban areas of the country. Matrics are encouraged to visit the Khetha career portal https://www.careerhelp.org.za/. of the DHET. The various TVET colleges offer an array of qualifications and sought-after artisanal qualification.

Higher Education and Training Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande confirmed in a media report that most Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges have commenced with their teaching and learning, including practicals, following the successful online registration process.

“Some of the colleges are still accepting students in areas where the enrolment targets are not met and the department’s TVET branch is monitoring the developments at each college,” Nzimande said.

Community colleges opened on 11 January 2023 for inland provinces and 18 January 2023 for coastal provinces.

The Minister advised prospective students to go to their colleges of choice for registration for the academic year 2023.”

Van Huyssteen says in the retail motor industry sector specifically, the sector is urgently looking for skills and young South Africans who want to focus on motor related trades such as petrol or diesel mechanic, spray painter, motor body repairer, welder, auto electrician as a career of choice and are willing to embrace apprenticeships so they can earn whilst they learn.

Van Huyssteen says the opportunities to specialise are exciting allowing young people to explore sought after expert areas including colour mixer and matcher; application of waterborne and 2 and 3 stage pearlescent paint; passenger and commercial vehicle technicians; vehicle engine remanufacturing; diagnostic and fault-finding technicians; coded welding, and steering geometry and advanced driver-assistance systems. “University is definitely not for everyone and a TVET qualification offers an excellent alternative,” says Van Huyssteen.

Rasheed Adhikari, Facilitator at College of Cape Town for Centre of Specialisation Motor Mechanic Programme (3 years) concludes, “Not every learner has the dexterity, technical or cognitive ability to do a modern motor mechanic apprenticeship, but for those that have the skill our artisan programmes are an excellent entry point into the workplace and the learner is virtually guaranteed employment when he/she qualifies. The reality is that qualified Tradesmen are well respected all over the world and in many European countries even earn more than doctors or lawyers.”

Louis van Huyssteen, RMI National Training Director

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.

Moore shows steely determination at Dakar 2023

In what has been described as the hardest Dakar in recent history, Dakar 2023 has proven to be a stunning success for South Africa across all the various categories and classes.

The rally, which kicked off on 1 January 2023 on the shores of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia, saw a total of 455 vehicles across all categories and classes traversing the 14 different stages that covered nearly 8000 km.

Without doubt one of the toughest classes in the Dakar is ‘Original by Motul’ where the riders compete without any technical support or assistance. This makes for an enormous challenge, with riders having to race one of the toughest races in the world while maintaining their own motorcycles without any assistance.  

This year 31-year-old Charan Moore, riding for HT RALLY RAID HUSQVARNA RACING, and familiar to many as the race director of the Roof of Africa, had one goal in mind and that was to win in the Original by Motul class. This despite the fact it was only his second Dakar and he was up against a determined field of very experienced and committed riders.

The fact that he succeeded despite almost impossible weather conditions, was a testament to his dedication, and the skills he has honed on the equally challenging gravel plains of Namibia and in Lesotho’s Maluti Mountains. After a rollercoaster two weeks Charan emerged victorious taking top honours in the Original by Motul category and coming in 28th overall in motorcycles and 12th  in the Rally 2 Class.

Adrian Scholtz, Motorsport South Africa (MSA) Chief Executive Officer, caught up with Moore to find out more about this incredible racer and what really goes into competing in this category where it is not just about one’s riding ability, but also one’s mechanical competence, organisational abilities, and capacity to perform mentally and physically in the face of extreme and cumulative fatigue.

Can you start off by telling us more about yourself. Where did your love for the sport come from and when did you start competing?

I grew up around motorsport and pretty much have fuel running through my veins. From a small town in the Free State to a racing family that travelled across the country racing and basically creating our second family. My father ran numerous race teams from the early 80’s to the early 2000’s, and I began my racing career in 2008 at age 16. I have dabbled in all facets of the sport – Cross-Country, Enduro, Motocross, Extreme Enduro and now Rally racing. I love the sport and the freedom it provides.

What appeals to you about the Dakar?

The challenge. It is by far the most intense, emotionally and physically challenging adventure you can experience in motorsport. That, as well as the true cross-country experience – 400km a day exploring vast terrains in incredible countries. It is pure adventure.

How many competitors participated in the Original by Motul class this year?

If I’m not mistaken there were 38 competitors in the class.

When we talk about unassisted what exactly does that mean?

No external assistance at all. The Original by Motul competitors become quite a close-knit family and we are allowed to help each other as much as needed. The limitation comes from receiving any external help from mechanics or family or friends at the event. So, all bike work is completed by yourself or with the support of any original by Motul competitor. You have to setup and take down your own tent and manage your own wheels, spares and tools for the duration of the event. The real authentic Dakar experience.

What kind of support do you get from Motul?

Motul provide all lubrication and oils for the Original by Motul competitors for the duration of the event. So, in our zone there is a Motul stand filled with all the necessary oils and lubricants to service the motorcycles. From the 300V engine oil to chain lube to bike wash and everything in between. Motul also offer an oil analysis at the event to ensure that the motorcycles are running at optimum capacity.

You are no stranger to tough off-road races – how does Dakar compare?

In 2022 I was slightly disappointed about the difficulty of the event. Everyone put Dakar on this pedestal as the hardest event on the planet and I found it quite easily achievable. However, 2023 was a completely different story. By far the hardest race of my life. A combination of longer stages, more difficult stages and intense weather conditions created an incredibly challenging Dakar. But I loved every second of it.

Can you tell us about your training in readiness for the Dakar?

Physically I put a lot of time into strength training for the bigger Rally bike, as well as some good base training on the bicycle to ensure that I would be prepared for the longer stages. Then more specifically we did a lot of roadbook training in Botswana and Namibia to prepare the mental navigational element of Dakar. We tied this mental prep with specific preparations in the dunes in Namibia which was invaluable once we hit the empty quarter in Saudi. The final piece to the puzzle was getting my head screwed on straight to create the right mindset to tackle the hardest offroad event in the world.

We all heard about and saw the extreme weather conditions experienced. What was the hardest aspect of the race for you?

The hardest aspect of the event for me was definitely the elements. What most people don’t see about Dakar is the 3:00am wake up call and 3-hour ride along a tar road at 0-degree temperatures to get to the start of the special. Then racing as fast as possible for around 5 to 7 hours over 300 to 400 km. Then another 3-hour ride in the pouring rain and traffic through some of the busiest cities in Saudi to find the sanctuary of the Bivouac in the dark – wet, cold, tired and now the bike preparations start for the next day. It was intense.

What advice would you give to any South African rider planning to race the Original by Motul class in the Dakar for the first time? Looking back is there anything you would change?

Preparation and mental fortitude are key. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. The more you can have structured, organised and planned, the easier things become. You also need to have your nutrition planned for the entire rally before leaving to Dakar. Have a thorough work schedule that you are comfortable with planned for every stage of Dakar and stick to it. Have all your gear prepared and pre-arranged. If you can get all the small things right then the bigger issues become easier to deal with. This brings me to the mental side. Things change quickly and you have to be prepared to adapt and deal with these changes. I found that having a positive mindset and attitude, remembering the reason for competing at Dakar and the privilege it was to just be on the start line – this gave me the mental edge to deal with anything they could have thrown at us. Get those two elements right and the event will show you a new side of yourself that you never knew possible.

I wouldn’t change a single thing. I loved every second. The good times and the hard times. It made the entire experience more rewarding.

What is your next big challenge?

Finding support for 2024 Dakar. The biggest barrier to entry at Dakar is the cost. But I honestly love this type of racing more than anything I have ever done before in my life, so the goal is to do everything possible to get back in 2024. My next big challenge is definitely finding a partner that shares my vision to compete at this level and shares the same values and ambitions to take on the toughest challenge possible.

Will we see you defending your title and competing in next year’s Dakar?

I won’t be defending my Original by Motul title but I will be on the start line of the 2024 Dakar Rally competing for a new crown.

I will be back on that start line proudly representing South Africa, my federation Motorsport South Africa and each and ever supporter of the journey. Hopefully with the backing of some great partners.

Scholtz, concludes, “We applaud Charan and all of the rest of the South African participants and teams who excelled at this year’s Dakar. MSA is so incredibly proud of their outstanding achievements and salutes their enormous dedication, talent and commitment.  This is an incredibly proud moment for South African motor sport.”

Picture courtesy: Rallyzone

The 2023 RMI Board

Serving on the RMI Board of Directors for 2023 are individuals who were elected by the RMI’s regional and constituent association’s committee structure, together with non-executive directors appointed from the broader business community.

Jeánne Esterhuizen continues as a Non-Executive Director and RMI President while Jakkie Olivier remains CEO.

The strategic objectives of the RMI will continue to be actively driven by the RMI Board of Directors together with the RMI’s Senior Executives for the ultimate benefit of all members.

IR seminar invite – Trade unions and your employees

We are pleased to announce that the RMI will be presenting an online seminar entitled – Trade unions and your employees

-When:  Wednesday, 25 January 2023

-Time:  09h00 – 12h00

-Platform:  Microsoft Teams

-Cost:  See registration form below

-Presenter:  Johanita Olivier

Some of the topics of discussion will be:

  • What are organisational rights?
  • How are organisational rights acquired?
  • Does there exist an entitlement to organisational rights?
  • What is the purpose of a Recognition Agreement?
  • What are automatic rights and who are entitled to it?
  • Who may request the right to access to the workplace?
  • What is the ratio between the numbers of trade union member to shop stewards?
  • When is leave (related to organisational rights) allowed for shop stewards?
  • When do shop stewards have the right to access information from an employer?
  • How does the MIBCO Main Agreement fit in with organisational rights?
  • Disputes about organisational rights

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.

The RMI Transformation Survey – have your say

Have your say – Get involved and be part of the change

It is crucial that the RMI has its finger on the pulse of this vibrant industry. Surveys are the way to get valuable feedback from members so important changes can happen. This means that YOU need to get involved and have your say!

The Transformation survey link was sent out to all members on 22 September 2021. While the RMI has received feedback from some members, the response rate has been low and the information received cannot be used to inform any substantive decisions at this stage.

Why is this survey important?

The information received from the survey will allow the RMI to measure the level of Transformation amongst its members. It will help the RMI to engage fruitfully and meaningfully to achieve its Transformation objectives.  

Remember that the RMI plays a critical role in engaging with, and lobbying Government and other stakeholders, on behalf of its members on all matters relating to Transformation. The ultimate goal of black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) and Transformation is a deracialised economy that seeks to broaden and deepen economic benefit and participation. Economic transformation is required to achieve and maintain a competitive and sustainable economy, and secure inclusive growth and empowerment. The RMI is fully committed to accelerate this process.

What will the RMI learn from the survey?

Importantly, it will help the RMI understand the demographic make-up, regarding race and gender, of its membership base. With this information the RMI will be in a better position to plan and implement Transformation initiatives that will advance some of the current programmes and projects it is involved in. It will also assist the RMI with planning and engaging in new initiatives that will promote Transformation.

What is the final goal?

Quite simply, the RMI wants true empowerment in the sector. Empowerment is not about giving away or receiving free equity in a business just to meet legislative requirements. It is a tool for growth and sustainability that every RMI business owner should learn how to use.  When implemented correctly B-BBEE supports job creation, global competitiveness and economic growth. It also has the potential to reduce the burden on entrepreneurs and help to create a more skilled workforce.

B-BBEE is not intended to be a knee-jerk reaction but should be an integral part of your annual business plan and long-term business strategy. Small changes now could build up into an impressive profile five years down the line. The challenge is to improve on your B-BBEE activities and score every year.

Complete the survey 

A unique link has been sent again to RMI members. Please fill in all the details so the RMI has the most up-to-date member information. The link also allows you to upload and save your current B-BBEE certificate online, that way the RMI will keep a record of your B-BBEE status.  If you haven’t received the link this means the RMI doesn’t have your correct email address and you need to contact the RMI head-office on 0118866300 or email noni.tshabalala@rmi.org.za

RMI and Automechanika build momentum together

The 8th edition of Automechanika Johannesburg will take place at the JHB Expo Centre from 5-7 September 2023.

As the largest business platform for the automotive aftermarket on the African continent, it is the ideal meeting place for all stakeholders to gather, connect, and network. It will bring together suppliers and buyers and will showcase rapidly changing technologies and processes.

The event will be a host to multiple sector-related conferences, that will pave the way for the sector in the short to medium term, making it a must-attend event for those involved in the automotive aftermarket sector.

The fundamental impact a trade show can have on the growth and development of an industry depends on the wide support from all market segments.

Through its portfolio of trade shows, Messe Frankfurt has always aimed at providing platforms where all market participants join to nurture, grow, and present their industry. Messe Frankfurt, organisers of Automechanika, are pleased that the RMI and its various associations will once again endorse the 8th edition in 2023.

Jakkie Olivier, CEO of RMI, says it is an absolute honour to once again be part of a worldwide professional show that values the industry as much as RMI does. “We fully appreciate the importance of networking and the important role it plays in our business. We thus welcome the opportunity presented by Automechanika to interact face-to-face with other business owners and product suppliers.”

When a trade show is well supported by the industry, it shows the strength of the sector. While individual companies may win or lose, the mantra of “stronger together” will always hold true, particularly at such a well-respected and representative show as this.

An attractive display of an entire industry can also have many long-term effects, including appealing to the younger generation for career opportunities, which is key to ensuring the sustainability of the sector, and the broader economy.

“We are delighted to have the RMI as an endorsing partner for Automechanika 2023. This is a positive endorsement of the event and underscores our shared commitment to the growth and development of the automotive aftermarket,” says Michael Dehn, Managing Director for Messe Frankfurt South Africa, organisers of Automechanika Johannesburg.

A year of prospects, stability and innovation – a word from RMI’s CEO

I wish all our valued members, industry stakeholders and staff the very best for 2023. As we move into this new year with fresh prospects, we remain optimistic for the year ahead and start the year on a sound financial footing.

Our strategic goals are crystal clear and our strong, committed leadership team is united and focused on adding value to all our members and the automotive industry.

The past two years have taught us several lessons. Perhaps the greatest one is that we can never remain stagnant and need to continuously adapt, transform and innovate.

For the first time in many years, we are pleased to bring you a January edition of Automobil and thought there was no better way to kick off the new year than with some industry insights and thoughts from each of our different associations. You will notice a few common themes which run through the commentary centred around keeping relevant, encouraging innovation, lobbying for a more sustainable and cleaner environment, and a fairer and more equitable trading and labour environment.

There’s also a strong focus on empowerment, transformation, training and upskilling of members in order to embrace our changing environment.

I trust you will enjoy reading the different insights provided and find ways to integrate some of the prospects into your own businesses. As always demonstrating value to consumers remains key and this will be facilitated by the various initiatives planned.

We look forward to a positive year and remain committed to always keeping the interests of our members and the industry top of mind, while making a real and lasting difference in the industry we support and serve.

Read the January Automobil, here: Automobil January 2023 (joomag.com)

Jakkie Olivier - RMI CEO

Tips that can save your life in flash flooding

With reports of further flooding and severe storm warnings persisting, particularly in KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng and the Free State, the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry (RMI), warns that any body of water on a road must be approached with extreme caution. Saving your life can be as easy as turning your car around when you see water damming on the road.

Dewald Ranft, chairperson of MIWA, says water levels can rise very quickly in heavy rain, turning roads into rivers and leaving motorists suddenly confronted with a dangerous situation.

“Even 20cm of water can damage electronic and mechanical components on a vehicle and as little as 60cm of moving water can sweep a car away. There are some basic rules to follow to help negotiate your way to the safest route out of these situations,” he says.

“Firstly – although weather can often catch us by surprise – we strongly advise that you plan your trip according to weather alerts. Check online and other resources regularly for updates so that you can find alternative routes if the road ahead is flooded – even if it is going to take you longer to reach your destination.”

Ranft says it is also extremely important to remain calm so that you can focus and make the right decision when caught in flash flooding. You may need to abandon your vehicle and get to safety on higher ground and making this type of assessment will require a cool head.

6 tips for driving in flash flooding conditions:

1.            Put headlights and hazard lights on so your car is visible.

2.            Alert your family members/friends to the situation and send them your live location.

3.            If you can, turn around and drive away from the flooded area.

4.            If you have to go through the water, try to gauge the depth by watching other vehicles negotiate the stretch of water. Do not go through water that appears to be 20cm or more deep. 

5.            If you have to drive through the water, proceed as slowly as possible in first gear with both hands on the steering wheel. The water being traversed should form a bow wave in front of your vehicle to minimize water ingress into the engine compartment, where sensitive electronic and mechanical components are located.

6.            Be especially cautious at night or when visibility is low as it will be harder to see flooding ahead.

If there is a risk of being caught in a flood:

•             Pull off the road to a safe place that will still allow space for emergency services, get out of your car and go to higher ground. Take your cellphone with you.

•             If your car is being surrounded by water, unfasten your seatbelt and those of any children with you, unlock the doors and open the windows.

•             If water starts coming in through the windows, get out of the car and go to the nearest point on safe higher ground.

•             If your car is suddenly submerged and your windows aren’t already open, you will need to break a window and swim to safety. Remember when a car sinks, it goes down bonnet-facing first exposing the rear of the vehicle. It is therefore best to make your way towards the back of the vehicle to break one of the rear vehicles. Bear in mind that vehicle windows are made of tempered glass, which is extremely strong and will require a concerted effort to break. An old spark plug kept in the cubbyhole is heavy and strong enough to break a window, or you can pull out the car headrest and use the sharp steel tip. 

A vehicle that has gone through water or been submerged in water for any length of time needs to be checked for damage by a trained professional as soon as possible afterwards.

One of the first concerns is if the vehicle will not start. It’s not a good idea to try to start it until the damage can be assessed. There is likely to be water in the engine, transmission and fuel system, so get an accredited workshop to take a look.

“You do not have to be driving in areas off the beaten track to experience flash flooding. These occur in urban areas and have claimed the lives of motorists and damaged vehicles. It is important to know what to do if this happens to you,” Ranft concludes.

Dewald Ranft, chairperson of MIWA