Last month Johannesburg Metro Police officers confiscated and impounded tools and vehicle parts from an illegal street mechanic found fixing cars on the road in Berea in Gauteng.
This follows a series of clampdowns on street mechanics over the last couple of years. Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) says unfortunately this is a reality in our country, particularly when the economy is so tough.
He says it does however talk to a growing culture of regulatory non-compliance in the motor vehicle repair industry that is not only creating an uneven playing field for many accredited workshop owners in the sector, but also placing consumers at risk and is in fact illegal. The law states that no person may repair any part of a vehicle or wash, dry or paint on any public road except in the case of an emergency.
We applaud JMPD for their proactive approach saying the increase in the number of these non-compliant businesses in the sector is a growing problem nationally.
As the economic outlook worsens, South Africans remain under immense pressure to save money and may be tempted to select the cheapest option without first checking the business carefully. The reality is that without the necessary registration and compliance, the consumer has virtually no recourse from a business if things go wrong. “There is no assurance about the quality of the technicians working on the cars, the type of parts being used; the quality of the diagnostic equipment or the environmental practices being followed,” he says,
Ranft says it is essential the authorities check for non-compliant workshops as well as these pavement vendors in the interests of safety. “With no oversight these traders can continue to produce substandard work in many cases, which not only affects the industry negatively but also impact ultimately on road safety,” he says.
“Accreditation and compliance is the consumer’s guarantee that the job will be done correctly and according to stringent industry standards,” Ranft says.
“It is time for better oversight and better protection from authorities to level the playing field in the industry and to protect the South African motorist,” concludes Ranft.