Showing support where it counts most


The Northern Cape and Free State economies are heavily dependent on agriculture – so when both provinces were ravaged by recent wildfires and a call went out for help, both RMI and MIWA members were quick to jump on board to assist.

RMI Free State and Northern Cape regional manager Jacques Viljoen notes that the devastation wrought by the veld fires took a particularly heavy toll on farmers in the region, leading to losses of game, livestock, and property at a time when they had already been hard hit by drought. Thus, when kykNET presenter Elsa Esterhuizen announced the launch of the GROOTPlaas Oes-Uit-Die-As Hulpfonds, RMI was eager to help.

RMI joined forces with medFM to host a series of announcements aiming to raise awareness of the farmers’ dire situation. This was followed up with a fundraising challenge, with RMI asking members, corporates, and individuals to see who will donate the most monies. In true MIWA style, many of our members challenged each other making a meaningful contribution to the R26 000 total RMI has managed to raise thus far. 

It is so great to see MIWA members joining together to help their community and also to receive some good airtime on MedFM. We have had weekly interviews on MedFM throughout November to raise awareness of the fundraiser. Bruno Burri from Swedo-Tech, a MIWA member in the area and member of the RMI Free State and Northern Cape regional executive committee, was in the studio on Wednesday 18 November with Jacques to speak about the initiative. 

All monies raised will be shared between Vrystaat Landbou, Agri Noord-Kaap, and Agri Noordwes.

Cybersecurity in the era of the connected car


Figiefa recently hosted a webinar on ‘Cybersecurity – new challenges for the automotive aftermarket’. Les Mc Master,  vice chairman of MIWA,  attended the webinar and shares some of the highlights of the presentation.  

The entire automotive industry has expressed excitement over the opportunities ushered in by the era of the connected car. Access to data – about everything from the driver’s online shopping and entertainment preferences to the state of the car – present new ways for industry members to engage with drivers, and open novel avenues for providing service. However, we in the aftermarket industry will also be faced with fresh challenges.

These arise from the ‘extended vehicle’ concept that is being employed by OEMs, which give them exclusive technical control over access to in-vehicle data and car IT systems. While they may choose to make such data available to independent service providers, they will still have an advantage: while OEMs are able to access pertinent data immediately, there will inevitably be a lag before it can be accessed by independent workshops, negatively impacting their ability to provide a speedy response to drivers’ needs. What’s more, OEMs may be able to filter the information they make available, and because they own the information systems, will be able to ‘see’ the transactions that take place between independents and drivers.

All of this adds up to give OEMs a distinct advantage over independent workshops, and one the aftermarket industry is determined to address. One solution that has been put forward is that, instead of an extended vehicle concept, the industry should introduce a shared server giving independent aftermarket service providers equal access to information. It may also be necessary to introduce regulation to address the issue. 

Although there has, as yet, been no move to draft such regulation, it is indeed something to consider as the move to connected driving gains traction.

Click here to download the presentation.

Tier 1 Supporters: The Diesel-Electric Organization


In every newsletter, we learn more about the fabulous Tier 1 Right to Repair sponsors. This month, we’re shedding the spotlight on the Diesel-Electric Organization.

The Diesel-Electric Organization is a network of 42 independently owned Bosch contract partners and franchise holders. The organisation has a national footprint and supplies the needs of the South African automotive aftermarket with components, parts, equipment, and information technologies with a special focus on partner workshop networks like e-Car, Bosch Services, and general bumper to bumper automotive repair workshops. Diesel-Electric also supplies specialist repairers, garages, fleet operators, franchise dealers, retail and wholesale parts stores.

The Diesel-Electric Organization focuses its operations on the automotive fields of electrical, electronics, gasoline and diesel fuel injection, as well as general safety and service lines.

Diesel Electric

To this end, the Diesel-Electric Organization supports, distributes, and represents not only Bosch automotive products but also a wide range of prestigious blue-chip automotive component brands, such as Bosch, ATE, Continental, Delphi Technologies, Denso, ELF, Ferodo, Fleet guard, GUD, Hella, Knorr-Bremse, KYB, LUK, NGK, Osram, Sachs, Zexel, and many others.

The Diesel-Electric Organization is deeply engaged in the Bosch Diagnostic Concept, which is a modular workshop support package comprising the supply and distribution of:

  • An extensive range of test and workshop equipment
  • Comprehensive Bosch Technical Information Software systems, as well as the partnering, supporting, and promoting of Bosch technical training programs

The e-Car and Bosch Service outlets are fully equipped to provide the consumer with state-of-the-art technology, in the repair and servicing of all makes of vehicles at these service centres.

The Diesel-Electric Organization is proud to be associated with Right to Repair, as we offer the industry and consumers peace of mind in our product offering and expertise in our workshop equipment concept.

Region in the spotlight


For the KwaZulu-Natal region, the greater emphasis on digitalisation ushered in at the beginning of the year proved to be a critical development – not only because the workshop hosted by MIWA, TEPA, and ARA helped to bring all three organisations together, but also because it laid a foundation which enabled the region to communicate with all members over online networks when the Covid-19 lockdown put paid to physical gatherings. 

Although many members are still getting to grips with a way of communicating that is unfamiliar to many, regional members were still excited to attend MIWA’s first online AGM.

While online communication will become less difficult as members start to feel more comfortable with it, the region is working to make sure that workshops improve procedures with regards to roadside mechanics, ensuring that there is greater adherence to OHS. This has been identified as one of the most significant challenges for the region.

In the meantime, KwaZulu-Natal has racked up some noteworthy achievements during the year, undertaking its first grading with Wipcorp. Special kudos go to Bavaria Auto in Durban, which scored a five-star grading. The region is also proud to have brought several new members onboard during a difficult year while existing members did the association proud with their ability to adapt to new circumstances and swift adoption of safety protocols.

Going forward, the region is looking forward to a time when members are able to meet in person again. Until then, it is helping members adapt to an online world by hosting workshops. More workshops are being held to educate members about the new grading process.

KwaZulu-Natal region thanks all members for their ongoing support, and wishes them a safe and blessed festive season.

Prinola Govender, Associational Representative and Dhaya Naidoo, Regional Chairman

Estimates versus quotes – what’s the difference?


The latest topic tackled as we seek to educate consumers is that of estimates and quotations. It’s an important subject, as consumers often feel taken aback when presented with a quote exceeding the estimate they were initially given.

The discrepancy arises because an estimate is based on the mechanic’s first assessment of the vehicle when the exact issues causing problems with the car, and their scope, are still unknown. In contrast, a quote is a more formal costing presented once the mechanic has had a chance to review what needs to be repaired, what this will cost, and how long this will take. 

Often, the costs that need to be included in a quote aren’t evident on the mechanic’s first examination of the car. For instance, if a car won’t start, it’s not until the mechanic is able to get it to start that he will be able to tell if there are any parts that need to be replaced. He may well find latent defects that need to be fixed during this time, and this is why the cost of a quote is often higher than the initial estimate.

That said, it’s important that, once the quote has been put forward and both parties have signed their acceptance, it cannot be changed. Any additional work that is carried out cannot be charged, even if it is only remotely associated with the initial repair. 

Our advice to car owners? Make sure that you understand the quote entirely; don’t be afraid to ask questions or get a second opinion, and don’t feel pressured into paying before you are satisfied.

What our members have been up to…

Finn Auto team supporting Algoa FM big walk for cancer

Mossel Bay-based Hendrik Coetzee found a novel way of celebrating his workshop’s first anniversary. Rather than following the usual route of offering customers a discount, he decided to open his workshop to the entire community, giving anyone who stopped by a free 62-point service and diagnostic report. Drivers were even treated to complimentary hot dogs, cool drinks, and chips, with music and fireworks setting a festive mood.

Hendrik says that the day, which took place on 31 October, was a huge success, and many customers have made time to visit the workshop since they saw all the activity. 

It took Hendrik, a diesel mechanic, two and a half years to find the perfect site for his first workshop, and although Covid-19 made his first year in business a difficult one, he’s very optimistic about the future. He’s also very excited to be a MIWA member, and appreciates all the support the association has given him.

Finns Auto in Port Elizabeth has also been supporting their community, hosting a special CANSA walk to raise funds and awareness of cancer. The workshop worked hard to promote awareness of prostate cancer during ‘Movember’, donating a portion of all motor health checks to the Movember Foundation and selling moustache-shaped biscuits to benefit the same cause.

And last but not least, the team from Ians Auto Clinic have also been making a difference at Greensleeves Children’s Trust. They have been assisting them with the repairs on their vehicles as well as helping fundraise and provide the Trust with ad hoc items and groceries when they are in need. Carol Radloff encourages all members to like their facebook page and help where possible. They are a non-profit organisation and rely totally on friends and companies to assist and donate.

“Well done to all those members who have in spite of the challenging year, managed to survive, and in many cases, make the lives of others more bearable,” concludes Pieter Niemand.

Get the most out of your holiday


If ever there was a year when we all needed a break, this would be it. And yet, how many of us return from our vacations feeling even less rested than before? With tensions over Christmas lunches, bored children to entertain, and the leftover stress of a difficult year, it’s easy to understand how this can happen. Try these tips to help you make the most of your year-end break.

Photo: Hamza Bounaim, Unsplash

Set a goal

That might sound a little strange – surely goalsetting is something to save for work? Actually, no. Deciding whether you want to use your time out of the workshop to relax, discover your city or have more fun will help you decide how you want to spend your time – and then you can plan accordingly. After all, there’s a big difference between making plans with friends before their diaries get filled, or letting them know that you’re taking some downtime over the season and will catch up with them in the new year.

Be realistic

If your family doesn’t enjoy lying on the beach, the Christmas lunch with your in-laws is always tense, and your budget isn’t going to stretch very far this year, no amount of wishing (or, more likely, ignoring the problem) is going to change things. Accept that as much as you might have imagined the holiday to unfold a certain way, things may be very different in reality.

Photo: Lisa Fotios, Pexels

Plan ahead

If you know that your brother-in-law is going to get on your nerves at some point during family lunch, or you can only take so much Christmas shopping, make sure you have an escape plan in place. 

Don’t discard all your routines

It may sound counterintuitive at a time when all you want is a step away from your usual day-to-day, but breaking routine can actually be very stressful – it’s why so many of us battled under lockdown. Keep up some of your rituals, whether it’s your morning run or your 10 o’clock cup of coffee.

MIWA in the media, November 2020

TV cameras lined up, covering large public event

It’s exciting to see MIWA making headlines once more. We are so proud of the fact that right throughout lockdown we have managed to maintain visibility for our members. Here are a few of our most recent media appearances.

Comaro Chronicle
Give your car a break with a trip to an accredited workshop

How to know difference between quote, estimate from your mechanic

Benoni City Times
No need to panic about car warranty

Witbank News
Quote or estimate from your mechanic – know the difference

Quote or estimate from your mechanic – know the difference

From the Director’s Desk, November 2020


Can you believe it – we have made it to the end of the year! When I think back on all the director’s messages I have written for this year’s newsletters, and how many of them urged us all to keep on going, I am reminded of just how much we have overcome during 2020. And while we all know that Covid-19 is not going to magically disappear in 2021, I know that I am not alone in hoping – and believing – that the strength and resilience we have built through all our trials will help us all make the coming year a better one.

Thanks to every one of you, our MIWA members, for standing by us. And congratulations, too – this year, you have truly shown what you are made of.

We wish you all a very happy festive season. May you and your families be safe and happy and I look forward to starting a new year afresh with you.

Pieter Niemand, MIWA National Director