Clampdown on roadside repairs for safety

JMPD recently carried out another clampdown on illegal roadside vehicle repairs which are in contravention of municipal by-laws. The Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), has come out in support of these efforts, noting specifically the impact these repairs have on road safety and the challenges faced to ensure a safer vehicle population on South African roads, as well as the adverse impact  on environmental integrity as a result of dangerous, noxious and flammable substances being released into the air and water sources.

The RMI’s head of Regulatory Compliance, Vishal Premlall, says that operating under these conditions with little to no regulatory compliance, compromised parts, unskilled labour and poor working conditions, has a material impact on the quality and safety of vehicles on our roads, not only for the driver/passengers, but for other road users as well.

“It also places these informal workers at risk, working in unsafe conditions,” he adds. Premlall says unfortunately sub-standard repairs and cheaper parts seem to have a captive market for consumers wanting to buy cheap, but this purchase comes with a serious risk.  The RMI recently attended the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) destruction ceremony in Midrand where R80 million of illegal automotive friction material, which includes brake components, was destroyed. “These illegal parts including brake pads and brake linings, do not conform to SABS safety standards and often enter our borders and make their way into the market. It is deeply concerning to see the quality of some of the safety-critical parts which often can result in tragic injuries and even death,” he says.

For a number of years now the RMI has been firmly behind efforts to uplift informal motor businesses in a special project under the auspices of the National African Association of Automobile Service Providers (NAAASP).  The project supports the organisation’s broader transformation agenda and provides small and developing black-owned informal businesses with the necessary mentorship in the automotive repair and maintenance aftermarket.

“Our objective is to enhance the capabilities of these automotive repairers and maintenance aftermarket enterprises to meet and exceed industry standards on compliance, equipment, tools, infrastructure, and appropriate qualified human resources. We appreciate the challenges faced by SMME’s in their efforts to play a meaningful role in the mainstream of the automotive repair and maintenance aftermarket sector and believe.”

Over the years RMI has made significant progress with the project and continues to drive it with vigour. It is nevertheless concerned with the lack of compliance and growing number of roadside repairers that are seemingly getting away with substandard repairs.

“We will shortly be launching a Whistle Blower Hotline, where cases of illicit trading may be reported. We all have a collective responsibility to uplift South Africa and join forces to help bring this growing concern under control.”

See article:  JMPD

Vishal Premlall - SAPRA National Director & RMI Regulatory Compliance