Right to Repair Guidelines – What is the impact for MIWA members

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The final Right to Repair Guidelines published in December by the Competition Commission will come into effect from July 1, 2021.

The guidelines have distinct implications for consumers, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), and Aftermarket Workshops (referred to as independent service providers or ISPs). They also highlight the critical and urgent need for sharing information and training.

We are aware that many of you have queries and are looking for clarity, particularly on how best to interpret certain sections within the guidelines.

The RMI has committed to jointly communicate with all Associational members on progress regarding the interpretation and application of the Guidelines to avoid a fragmented approach and any resultant misunderstandings. This needs to be a collaborative approach between each of the four associations (MIWA, SAMBRA, TEPA, and NADA) most impacted by the Guidelines. They have accordingly just completed the process of briefing senior counsel in this regard and will be sending out a communication in the next couple of weeks. We have worked with the RMI compiling a comprehensive Q&A. Please bear with us while we check all points thoroughly. We are sure you will understand the need to prevent the spread of any inaccurate information. 

Watch this space for further information – we will be in touch as soon as we are able.

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Click the image above to download the Guidelines for Competition in the South African Automotive Aftermarket published by the Competition Commission in December 2020.

The POPI Act and you – all you need to know

Big Data is Watching You

With the POPI Act coming into effect, RMI has joined forces with its legal advisors Barnard Inc. Attorneys to create a guide to understanding this new legislation and what you need to do to ensure compliance. We have taken care to highlight the risk areas you are most likely to encounter in your business, along with the privacy initiatives, documents, and procedures that should be put in place.

Click the images below to download the documents.

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General-POPI-Act-Policy

Easter road safety

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Easter means family and holidays – but with more people on the roads, accidents are inevitable. The Easter accident toll is always frightening, and yet the human errors which are at the root of most accidents are largely avoidable.

By following these tips, motorists can contribute to a safer season on the roads:

  • Make sure the car is in good working order. Headlights, indicators, shocks, tail-lights, windscreen wipers, mirrors, brakes, stop lights, steering and tyres must all be functioning optimally; the spare tyre must be ready and available, and oil and water should be checked.
  • Plan the route and make sure that you have mapped out stops to take a break and prevent fatigue.
  • Rest up the day before the trip. Further steps to avoid driver fatigue include driving with a partner who can take over when you feel tired, and stopping to rest (always in a safe spot, with the doors locked) if you find yourself yawning or battling to focus.
  • Make sure that your cellphone is fully charged and important emergency numbers have been saved.
  • Make sure that any child younger than 12 years old is sitting in the back seat.
  • Seatbelts are non-negotiable. Every single person in the car must be wearing.
  • If you can’t avoid driving in rainy weather, take precautions: allow extra following distance. Drive at a moderate speed, and avoid slamming on brakes; instead, apply gentle, firm pressure. Avoid the outside lane as far as possible, as water tends to collect. Finally, remember to switch on headlights to improve visibility.

Covid: A time to be kind

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Several times over the past year, we were reminded of the need to treat each other with tolerance. With anxiety soaring and people devastated by loss, it became clear that our most powerful tool for surviving the pandemic is also a simple one: kindness. We’re pleased and proud to say that MIWA members are living this spirit.

Garage 808 in Tygerberg is a case in point. Owners Colin and Adele were motivated to start a collection of personal hygiene products for patients after a conversation with hospital staff revealed that most people coming in for treatment ran out of toiletries after a short while – especially since Covid visiting restrictions mean that they are unlikely to receive top-ups from family and friends coming to see them. “This isn’t simply about hygiene, it’s about personal dignity,” Adele notes. With that in mind, the couple sent out a call for help, which was heeded by communities as far afield as KwaZulu-Natal and the Garden Route, and succeeded in collecting mittens, bed socks, earbuds, toilet paper, adult and baby diapers, deodorant, feminine sanitary products, body lotion, shampoo and conditioner, toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap and face cloths – a huge accomplishment.


Kudos also goes to Maria Prinsloo from John’s Service Centre in Montague. Maria noticed there were many complaints about Monte Vista doing the rounds on social media, with residents lamenting the run-down nature of the area. With pleas for the municipality to take action going ignored, the owners rallied the community to clean up Monte Vista themselves, with help from All Seasons Garden Service. “Now it’s a pleasure to walk past the area,” the owner comments. “I feel like people often complain about their issues on social media when they could use that energy to do something. We need to claim back our neighbourhoods.”


Finally, huge congratulations to David Enticott. David is not only the owner of a five-star graded workshop – Motorwise, located in Montague Gardens – he’s also a highly talented racer, who recently took place in the SunBet ZX Masters Cup at Killarney International Raceway. David beat reigning champion Graeme van Breda by 0.2 seconds. Eager to share his passion, David helps out at an advanced riding school at the Killarney International Raceway on weekends.

Warning lights: not to be ignored!

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Most motorists aren’t aware that the average car has two dozen complex computer modules working to make sure that the vehicle runs smoothly. Each comprises an intricate system of sensors and electrical wires. Not surprisingly given this complexity, there’s always a chance that something could go wrong. And when it does, the dashboard warning light is the first sign that the car needs care.

Although most drivers are accustomed to keeping an eye out for the petrol light, and possibly even oil and water, there are many more signs to watch out for. These include: 

  • The engine management light, which indicates that something has gone wrong with the engine and should be rectified at a workshop as soon as possible.
  • The battery light, which shows that there is a problem with the wiring, alternator, or alternator drive belt. It is vital that motorists avoid driving if this light is showing – because the battery is not charging, it is not safe to drive.
  • It’s equally dangerous to drive if the oil level warning light shows because this is a sign that there is no oil pressure in the engine. If the light continues to display after the oil level has been topped up, it’s time to book the car into a workshop, as it is likely there is a problem with the oil supply – possibly a blocked oil filter or oil pump. Driving with such issues could lead to engine damage.
  • Brake warning lights usually come on if the hydraulic brake circuit has failed. It is critical that the driver pulls over immediately and gets professional help, although they may still be able to drive to a workshop if brake fluid levels are at peak levels.
  • Although the Anti-lock braking system (ABS) warning light isn’t an emergency, it should still be checked out, and drivers should be particularly careful when driving in wet conditions.

Motorists should be aware that if a warning sight is glowing red, they need to have the problem attended to as a matter of urgency.

Fuel efficiency 101

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After a difficult financial year, motorists are certainly not going to welcome the news that they’ll be facing a hefty petrol price hike during April. This makes vehicle maintenance more important than ever; after all, high petrol prices simply add to the overall costs of maintaining a car. With this in mind, MIWA chairman Dewald Ranft advises the following:

  • Accelerating slowly ensures that there are no sudden bursts which place pressure on petrol consumption.
  • Driving at a constant speed allows the car’s engine management system to adjust to the most economical setting for optimal fuel consumption. It’s, therefore, a good idea for motorists to pick a lane where traffic is travelling at an even pace.
  • It’s a myth that letting a car idle warms up a cold engine; nor does this improve fuel consumption or enhance the engine’s lifespan. That said, it’s important not to accelerate too drastically when the engine is cold, as this drives petrol consumption significantly.
  • If there is a long wait in traffic, fuel may be saved by turning the engine off; at least until the traffic starts to move once more. Most modern cars have been designed with this function in mind.
  • It may sound obvious, but motorists should think strategically about how they use their cars, cutting down trips where possible and even sharing rides if they can.

MIWA in the media, February 2021

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The media landscape may be shrinking every month but our MIWA news keeps on getting some excellent traction in media across the country. Check out the headlines we’ve made this month:

BizCommunity
Petrol-saving tips for the upcoming heavy fuel price hike

Cape Business News
Protect yourself on the roads this Easter

Comaro Chronicle
Know the warning signs on your car’s dashboard

Fourways Review
Know some of the warning signs on your car’s dashboard

Retrenchment: is there an alternative?

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The pandemic has placed our economy under enormous pressure, and few businesses are exempt. It’s natural for companies to look to retrenchment as a way of saving on costs – but, while the urge to cut payroll is understandable, it carries severe implications; not only for the individual but for the business itself, which stands to lose out on valuable skills.

With this in mind, we urge our members to make contact with the RMI’s IR specialists to provide guidance while traversing this minefield. We further urge members to consider the following alternatives before embarking on a retrenchment exercise (while following the correct procedures as stipulated by the Labour Relations Act (Sect 189 & 189A), and once all financial relief options have been explored and exhausted:

Working from home
With this option, staff members are able to work remotely, according to flexible work arrangements.

Reduced work hours (Short Time)
Here, the employee is able to keep their job but works shorter hours. It is important to note that this is considered a temporary remedy. Any employer wishing to implement Short Time must advise their staff no later than the previous day from when Short Time will be implemented. It is also advisable to give employees in the same category the opportunity to work Short Time on alternate days so that their earnings are not too drastically affected. This is a good solution if there is not enough work to cover payroll for all employees. It must be remembered that the Main Collective Agreement sets out criteria that employers must adhere to when Short Time is implemented and the reporting of such Short Time to the Motor Industry Bargaining Council.

Decreased remuneration
This option is recommended when a business needs to retain all staff members but does not have enough income to cover its payroll immediately. Employers need to consult an Industrial Relations Specialist to ensure this strategy is implemented fairly and must make sure that all employees face the same reduction. It is considered a temporary measure. 

Temporary Lay-Off
This is not considered a dismissal; rather, it is a temporary layoff made in response to operational requirements beyond the employer’s control – for example, if a client fails to make payment on an order or fails to deliver an order; if the delivery of orders is delayed; if power cuts bring production to a halt; or if weather circumstances negatively affect operations. Because the employee is not reporting for work, the employer is not obliged to pay their remuneration. Instead, they will be able to access funds from the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

It will be noted that the above alternatives in essence require a change in conditions of employment and must therefore be effected via means of consultation. Therefore, retrenchments should be the final option. Retrenchments are considered to be non-fault dismissals and implemented where employers have suffered economically and seized operations. The above clearly outlines that retrenchments could become a difficult obstacle course and thus highly advised that contact is made with your nearest Industrial Relations Specialist to ascertain if there are alternative solutions that may be applied before embarking on a retrenchment exercise.

Coronavirus: One year on

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As we clock up Day 36-who-even-knows-any-more of lockdown, it’s almost impossible to imagine a life where only surgeons wore masks and no one knew what social distancing was. With the vaccine programme slowly being rolled out, we’re beginning to experience the first shoots of hope – but we’ve travelled a long, hard road to reach this point. Happily, there have been some humorous moments along the way – and these have surely kept us going. Who can forget:

  • Cyril’s none-too-suave demonstration of how to wear a mask (no, it doesn’t go over your eyes, Mr. President).
  • The infamous ruling against roast chicken. Who would have thought that a Sunday lunch favourite would give rise to such a hotly contested controversy?
  • The Jerusalema – South Africa’s gift of optimism to the whole world. Hands up if you did a Jerusalema Challenge? Of course you did!
  • The hilarious parodies of The Kiffness and Max Hurrell. All together now: “When you zol, you put the saliva on the paper.”
  • Online fitness classes – after you’d already worn out a path in your carpet, trying to clock up a few k’s.
  • Pineapples. Beer. Need we say more.

From the Director’s Desk, March 2021

2019

We’d like to reaffirm our commitment to guiding you through that change, as the custodians of the automotive aftermarket.

Our business, like so many things in life, is a little like playing a game. You need to know the rules (or, in our context, you need to have an in-depth knowledge of parts, provide them at the correct price, and follow appropriate procedures and protocols); you need the right gear (which comes to us in the form of diagnostic equipment and tools like the HaynesPro programme); and have the necessary back up (accurate records). When you stick to this formula, you’re almost guaranteed success.

We like to think that we play a key part in that success, too – which is why, as the second quarter of the year gets underway, we would like to reaffirm our commitment and dedication to the aftermarket. We understand that the high standards we set for our members are an assurance for South African consumers – and, at a time when we need such assurances more than ever before, the comfort provided by this confidence cannot be overestimated. As our operating environment changes through initiatives such as Right To Repair and the implementation of the POPI Act, we’d also like to offer you an assurance: We’re always here to guide you through these changes. And we will continue to uphold those standards and make sure our industry lives up to our slogan: Professionals you can trust.

Pieter Niemand, MIWA National Director