Right to Repair South Africa

Working for your right to choose, your right to repair, it's your choice!

Supporting your Right to Repair

Industry leaders in the Automotive Aftermarket supports Right to Repair South Africa.

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Right to Repair pushes for transformation and economic growth in motor sector

The good news for the motor sector is that despite the tough economic times facing South Africans more independent workshops are opening their doors with a growing number of these being black owned. On the downside, if there isn’t change in terms of allowing these workshops access to fair competition in the market, they will not be open for long. 

“There is great potential for real transformation which will lead to economic growth in this sector particularly,” says Gunther Schmitz, Chairman of Right to Repair South Africa (R2RSA). He explains that current exclusionary practices mean SMEs are being driven out of business. “If there is no change, its likely that in five years workshops will no longer be able to service vehicles.”

Pieter Niemand, Director of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), says from July 2016 to August 2018 over 230 black-owned workshops have become MIWA members. This is out of a total of 520 workshops that joined during the same period. “This is encouraging. The majority of our members are small businesses. We believe it is our mandate to create and promote a culture wherein member businesses will meaningfully participate in transformation which will enable inclusive growth and employment for all.”

He adds that the regulatory environment poses huge challenges for small business as the application of laws is unpredictable resulting in businesses losing focus on growth. “This situation has a major impact on current businesses and relief of this regulatory burden will create opportunities for assistance and support to new black businesses entering the industry.”

As an affiliate association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), he says MIWA needs to ensure the sustainability of black businesses entering the industry by providing mentorship, training and enhancement of the skills system. “Equal opportunities will achieve and maintain a competitive economy ensuring all members remain sustainable. However, we believe strongly that only through change in respect of the right to repair will the economy open up for these workshops and make this more viable,” he says.  

Sisa Mbangxa, Chairman of the African Panel beaters and Motor Mechanics Association (APMMA) agrees. “Over the years there has been a good response from entrepreneurs to government’s call of Vukuzenzele – the creation of jobs, the eradication of poverty, and sustainable development.The number of businesses in the automotive repair sector increased immensely. The objective was and is still to create decent jobs and fight back frontiers of poverty. Some previously disadvantaged individuals went to financial institutions to acquire loans to start or open automotive repair workshops.” 

Unfortunately, he explains, only to find out later that the grass they thought was green was in fact yellow. “They can’t work on cars that are in warranty and are insured vehicles. They can’t even work on government vehicles due to red tape, monopoly and unfair competition in the automotive industry. We believe that with the introduction of Right to Repair in South Africa the previous disadvantaged artisans or workshops will be able to compete fairly with the historical advantaged workshops.” 

He says this will assist these workshops to have more work and thrive. “Right to Repair will also assist our government in addressing Radical Economic Transformation. Decent and sustainable jobs will be created and will bring back human dignity to currently impoverished communities.”

Previously disadvantaged individuals’ workshops will have access to technical information from workshops and branding where necessary. “Another serious challenge that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency is the lack of infrastructure in the townships and rural areas, skills upgrades and so on. APMMA has called upon the industry and government to assist in this regard.”

Schmitz says the implementation of the proposed code of conduct for the automotive industry will open the way for more previously disadvantaged individuals to own dealerships and other businesses in the sector. “Currently aftermarket repairers are being denied access to codes, tools, information and parts. In addition, it is financially inaccessible for many to become accredited service providers for Original Equipment manufacturers (OEMs). OEMs may argue that the safety of the driver will be compromised because of parts quality and skills of repairers, and that warranties are standard across all industries. Our response is that parts are manufactured by suppliers not OEMs and the aftermarket is highly skilled. The inaccessibility to information is inhibiting repairs, not skills. Just because warranties are standard across industries in SA does not mean they should not be challenged. In Europe and the United States warranties are handled differently.”

“Ultimately, we need to create jobs and sustain them. We need transformation and empowerment. The time for change is now,” he concludes.  

ENDS 

To join the conversation and to find out more about the campaign go to:

https://www.facebook.com/Right-to-Repair-SA-888881121278103/

And on Twitter follow @Right2RepairSA 

The website also provides more insight into the campaign and its objectives: 

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PREPARED ON BEHALF OF MIWA BY CATHY FINDLEY PUBLIC RELATIONS. CONTACT JACQUI RORKE WITH ANY QUERIES ON (011) 463-6372 OR EMAIL JACQUI@FINDLEYPR.CO.ZA

Competitive pricing could mean job creation in motoring sector

Imagine a future where more car repair workshops open shop because they have access to technical information, tools and training, and competitive pricing means more people are servicing their cars more regularly. This could be a reality, says Gunther Schmitz, Chairman of Right to Repair South Africa (R2RSA). “Fair competition means parts and servicing prices will drop and as vehicle owners have greater choice, they will be more willing to service their vehicles regularly. There’s no doubt this will lead to increased employment and job opportunities.” 

The Right to Repair campaign is lobbying for just this kind of change and believes the proposed Automotive Code of Conduct is the way forward.The campaign aims to allow consumers to select where their vehicles are serviced, maintained and repaired at competitive prices in the workshop of their choice.“It’s not workshops alone that will be effected but engineering establishments, pump rooms, parts suppliers and fitment centres, to name a few. Dealerships too will benefit as they will have access to service a greater range of vehicles,” says Schmitz. 

Unfortunately, the converse is also true. “If we don’t see change soon, there is a very real threat that in a few years’ time many of these independent workshops will go out of business as they can no longerdiagnose and repair new and existing models. We are already seeing this happening. Job loss will be inevitable,” he says. 

According to Stats SA in a document on the motor trade industry, in 2015 small and micro enterprises made up 91,4% of those employed to do maintenance and repairs. Based on figures provided by the Motor Industry Bargaining Council (MIBCO), an estimate of 245 000 people are currently employed in the aftermarket sector. “These jobs are in jeopardy.”

He adds that there is no evidence of job losses due to dealerships shutting down in countries where access to information has been granted. “There is also not one country around the world where major manufacturers have pulled out of the country because of a code of conduct such as that proposed for South Africa. Rather the competition has stimulated economic growth,” says Schmitz. 

“The sustainability of the aftermarket needs to be a priority because it is a major contributor to employment in South Africa. There is also potential for growth. This will continue to be a strong motivator for the Right to Repair campaign,” he concludes. 

ENDS 

To join the conversation and to find out more about the campaign go to:

https://www.facebook.com/Right-to-Repair-SA-888881121278103/

And on Twitter follow @Right2RepairSA 

The website also provides more insight into the campaign and its objectives: 

Home

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PREPARED ON BEHALF OF RIGHT TO REPAIR BY CATHY FINDLEY PUBLIC RELATIONS. CONTACT JACQUI RORKE WITH ANY QUERIES ON (011) 463-6372 OR EMAIL JACQUI@FINDLEYPR.CO.ZA

Consumers deserve transparency in motor sector, says R2RSA

Consumers want to know what they are getting for their hard-earned cash, especially when it comes to high-value items such as cars. “And why shouldn’t they,” says Gunther Schmitz, Chairman of Right to Repair South Africa. “We believe there needs to be transparency when it comes to pricing of parts, service plans, and warranties. When consumers have all the facts, they are in a better position to make a choice.”

Schmitz says there needs to be a mechanism in place where extended service plans and warranties should be sold separately so consumers have a clear understanding of the costs involved. “If it’s a good deal and a competitive offering then the consumer will go for it. We believe this will open up the industry for fair competition and ultimately give consumers choice,” he says. 

The same should apply to the pricing of parts. “For years consumers have been led to believe that original car parts can only be obtained from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). In reality probably 99% of the parts required for repairs (excluding accident repairs) and maintenance are manufactured by Original Equipment Suppliers (OES) like Bosch, Mahle, GUD etc. Consumers need to know that OEMs buy these same parts off the assembly line, by commission, and sell them to the aftermarket repackaged with their logo on them, which obviously has an effect on the end price,” explains Schmitz.

Through warranties, the new-car market in South Africa dictates the use of original parts. “In many first-world countries, this is a thing of the past and consumers are free to use aftermarket parts in their vehicles without affecting the warranty.”

Along similar lines, the Right to Repair campaign is calling for transparency when it comes to access to information, tools and training so the aftermarket can be well-equipped to service cars in or out of warranty. “Independent workshops are more than happy to buy this information. Right now, however, this is not an option in South Africa. In Europe, for example, this information is housed in a data cloud and workshops have access through an interface on a subscription basis. The information also includes essential service information from the OEMs so mechanics have all the tips at their disposal.”

Schmitz says while change is never easy, it is essential. “We agree that it needs to be handled responsibly to ensure the consumer is the ultimate benefactor. We can’t, however, let the fear of change inhibit progress. We are lobbying for this change so consumers and the aftermarket workshop businesses have the valuable information that for too long has been kept concealed.”

“So far we are very positive about the work done by the Competition Commission and continue to believe that the code of conduct, due to be published soon, will encourage much-needed progress,” concludes Schmitz.

ENDS 

To join the conversation and to find out more about the campaign go to:

https://www.facebook.com/Right-to-Repair-SA-888881121278103/

And on Twitter follow @Right2RepairSA 

The website also provides more insight into the campaign and its objectives: 

Home

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PREPARED ON BEHALF OF MIWA BY CATHY FINDLEY PUBLIC RELATIONS. CONTACT JACQUI RORKE WITH ANY QUERIES ON (011) 463-6372 OR EMAIL JACQUI@FINDLEYPR.CO.ZA