Motor Mech a resounding success


This year’s Motor Mech was hosted on Youth Day – a day specifically selected as a symbol of youth empowerment. After all, while Motor Mech may be a trade show, it is also a career day, serving to highlight the industry’s potential to future employees and a wonderful opportunity to try and attract new talent into the sector. 

It is, of course, also an outstanding opportunity for MIWA to build brand awareness – and the association took full advantage of this opportunity by branding banners, water bottles, the event programme, entry stamps and even T-shirts, while inviting MIWA members to take part. Teresa Spenser Higgs, MIWA Eastern Cape Regional Vice Chairperson, points out this subliminal advertising will ensure that our association is top of mind next time consumers find themselves wondering which workshop to use. Sister associations TEPA and NADA also took part in the event, displaying their new vehicles.

A wide range of exhibitors took part, from parts suppliers and manufacturers to tool and garage equipment suppliers and aftermarket warranty specialists. The presence of other industry stakeholders, like MerSeta, MISA and Motor-Health-Care turned the show into a one-stop-shop for everything related to the trade.

The stalls themselves were highly interactive, and it was exciting to see stallholders try their utmost to add a dash of creativity and entertainment to their exhibit. For example, one oil supplier invited visitors to stick their hands into a mystery box so that they could feel different types of lubricants, while a filter manufacturer constructed oil filters in front of the crowd

The junior Motor Mech competition is always a highlight of the event, and this year was no different. The 12 contestants who entered the competition were eventually whittled down to six participating in the semi-final round, and then three in the finals, where the winner was the entrant who was quickest to find three faults that prevented a vehicle from starting, and then finding a way to get it to idle. The competition also incorporated the Electude Training System, with contestants asking several questions about spark plugs. The winner of this section won a prize sponsored by NGK. 

Congratulations to the top three winners, who each took home a complete toolbox sponsored by Autocare & Diagnostics, Ronnies and Midas Quay. Not that the other contestants walked away empty-handed either. Each received two goodie bags filled with gifts from MISA and MerSeta.  “We hope that next year’s Junior Motor Mech has even more to offer entrants, and to this end are working to secure a bursary as a prize for the top achiever,” says Teresa. 

Peter Van Mosseveld – MIWA Associational Representative and RMI Eastern Cape Regional Manager with Teresa Spenser Higgs – Vice Chair MIWA Eastern Cape, Devin Dreyer – 3rd Place apprentice, Ashley Joel –
1st place apprentice and  Jaco van der Merwe – 2nd Place apprentice with Cliffie Jacobs – MIWA Eastern Cape Training Representative.

We were pleased to be able to offer visiting school children a glimpse of the opportunities offered by the industry, with the Department of Higher Education setting up a stand along with several local TVET Colleges – an exciting chance for them to engage with real stakeholders in the industry and find out what it’s all about.

A very big thank you to Port Rex Technical High School, whose dedication, partnership and hard work made the day possible. We are proud to say that all proceeds from the event have been donated to the school.

“Feedback from both visitors and vendors has been overwhelmingly positive. Several vendors have already booked stands for next year, and our sponsors have promised an even greater commitment on the day,” she says.

Cliffie Jacobs, MIWA’s Regional Training Representative who not only assisted with organisation but also set up the competition for learners with the support of the school says, “We were very pleased with the footfall for the event and the enthusiasm and interest shown by the young people who attended the show. All three of the students who were placed top in the competition showed great potential. For the last test particularly there was no textbook learning that could assist them. The value of hands-on experience really showed and they had to use their knowledge and experience to complete the task. We really look forward to partnering with Port Rex next year again and welcoming even more interest in the show.”

Teresa says that she hopes that other regions will be inspired to host their own Motor Mech show. The process was very simple. All major items were sponsored, and instead of paying a fee to host a stall, participants were asked to donate an item for the lucky dip, with lucky dips hosted throughout the day to keep visitor interest running high. While Peter van Mosseveld, RMI Regional Manager and MIWA Associational Representative Eastern Cape made himself available for support, Teresa and Cliffie took charge of all other details – and, they say, there is no reason for other regions not to do the same.

The last word comes from Peter who would like to extend a very special thank you to both Teresa and Cliffie for all their hard work in making the show such a great success and to all the MIWA members who participated or came out to support. “We are a member-driven organisation and this kind of support is so critical to help attract and encourage the youngsters who will form our workforce of the future.”

MIWA Western Cape members benefit from face-to-face training


When it comes to training, there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction and the in-depth understanding that comes from seeing a demonstration in action – which is why MIWA Western Cape was so excited to host its first in-person technical training workshop in two years.

The workshop, which was hosted at Goch and Copper Auto Services, focused on the importance of engine measuring, what to measure, the basic tools required, and how measurement enhances professionalism when supplying customers with a build certificate. Workshop participants received a training manual containing all relevant information, including the specific criteria required to record measurement.

MIWA Western Cape Regional Chairperson, Deon Goch, said that the session was highly successful, and is likely to be repeated in view of requests from members to do so. MIWA Western Cape is also looking to investigate other relevant topics: the next session is set to focus on measuring cylinder blocks, followed by a session on crankshafts and conrods. These workshops are an invaluable source of information, helping members upskill their staff and enhance their business efficiency – which ultimately leads to greater profits. With this in mind, Goch urges all members to attend workshops whenever possible.

The event was recorded by Keegan Goch (Deon and Karen’s son), and the recording will be made available to all MIWA members who were unable to attend the session. 

A big thank you to Deon and Karen Goch for the use of their venue and all their help and support, as well as SBB Machine Tools for creating an impressive display of engine measuring tools.

Artisanal skills under the spotlight


A hearty well done to Ernest Beneke, a third-year Port Elizabeth TVET College apprentice, who won gold at this year’s WorldSkills South Africa (WSZA) Biennial National Competition which took place at KwaZulu-Natal’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre from 7–10 June. Congratulations must also go to fellow apprentice Ceajay Bosman, a second-year automotive motor mechanic apprentice, who came second this time around, but who also took Gold in the automotive motor mechanic sector at WorldSkills Africa in Namibia earlier this year. 

It is hoped Beneke and Bosman will go on to represent South Africa at the 46th WorldSkills International Competition, to be hosted in September, where more than 1 600 participants from over 60 countries and regions will compete in tests challenging 63 different skills.

Unsurprisingly, PE College Facilitator Gerhard Pretorius is extremely proud of the college’s achievers. Pretorius himself is benefiting from training provided through the German Chamber of Commerce (or Handwerkskammer – HWK), which aims to support teachers’ training skills. This programme, which was launched in partnership with TVET colleges in the Eastern Cape along with RMI, has been highly successful in improving the quality of education received by upcoming artisans. Indeed, says RMI’s training director Louis van Huyssteen, it is exciting to see trainers – and by extension, learners – gaining an advantage in an increasingly competitive global industry simply by enjoying greater access to international training trends. “Teacher training can only boost South Africa’s sector,” Van Huyssteen says.

Van Huyssteen noted that the World Skills Biennial National Competition – which is organised by the Department of Higher Education – also has a role to play in uplifting the industry. It’s about conveying the importance of artisanal skills and showing the value attached to these skills. By creating this platform to assess levels of competency among participants, the Department of Higher Education is also promoting technical qualifications as a first choice among South Africa’s youth – important in view of the skills shortage currently facing the industry.

Recognising this challenge, the Department of Higher Education has identified the automotive motor mechanic trade as one of 13 trades to benefit from its Centre of Specialisation Programme, which emphasises facilitator training.

Sabelo Buthelezi, Chief Director of the department’s Special Projects Unit, says that the results achieved by PE College is proof indeed of how much can be accomplished when teachers receive a little extra assistance and support. He encourages these changes to be incorporated into the curriculum so that South Africa’s artisans can compete confidently no matter where in the world they find themselves.

Spotlight on Safeline: Not all brake pads are created equal


There are certain moments in life that really count –being prepared for these can make all the difference.

In a world where a crash or close-call boils down to meters, it’s important to know the difference between available brake pads on the market, so you can make an informed decision.

In the internationally recognised AMS Fade Test (an independent assessment that determines braking distance), one brake pad manufacturer stood out. Safeline was proven to outperform competitor brake pads, stopping up to 10 metres shorter on average, than other leading brands.

Brake failure accounts for about 1 in 9 car accidents with mechanical causes in South Africa, making the choice of brake pads you fit a life-or-death decision.

The poorer the quality of your brake pads, the longer your stopping distance – which means you are more likely to find yourself in a collision.

Although new brake pads may look alike, they don’t all perform the same. An independent ISO 17025: 2017 dynamometer test found deficiencies in the build quality of some brake pads in the South African market. These inferior options cracked easily and crumbled under pressure when put to the test.

In the real world, the stakes become higher if you choose to fit low-quality brake pads. While cheaper options may seem attractive in tough times, risking brake failure means risking your life and the lives of others.

Penny wise…


It seems that everything is more expensive these days – and by a significant amount, too. At a time when it seems difficult to make it to the end of the month without going into debt, putting aside a little extra to save feels impossible. But, since we are going into July which is Savings Month, it’s a good time to build solid financial habits. These tips may make a difference to your pocket:

  • Track your spending. Finding out where your money goes is the first step toward saving, so download an app that helps you identify where you’re spending the bulk of your income.
  • Pay yourself first. Save, save, save – even if it’s just a few hundred rands, try to stash something away in a separate account before you do anything else. Try to work towards having three to six months’ worth of salary saved.
  • Get your bills paid. Once you’ve done this, you’ll know exactly how much disposable income you have. What’s more, this habit helps you maintain a good credit score (while you’re at it, it’s a good idea to download your credit score – because a healthy credit score will help you obtain a favourable rate if you need to apply for credit. More than that, many cell phone providers, landlords, or other entities won’t consider your application for their product or services without viewing your credit record first).
  • Tackle your high-interest-bearing debt first. That interest tends to mount, so paying off these debts as quickly as you can helps you maintain some control over them.

MIWA in the media, June 2022

TV cameras lined up, covering large public event

Given that most South African drivers have been inconvenienced by potholes at some stage, it’s not surprising that our article on this topic received significant coverage in community papers during June. However, several other articles were featured, too. Here’s where to find our latest stories:

MIWA – money tight – don’t skimp on your car service

Skipping car services can cost you dearly, workshop association warns

Pretoria Rekord
Have you experienced pothole damage to your car?

Sandton Chronicle
Have you experienced pothole damage to your car?

Africa Business Fleet
Know when to hand car repairs over to the experts

Avoiding pothole damage


Given the state of South African roads, most motorists have encountered damage from potholes at some point this year. While vehicle owners are naturally eager to avoid the extra costs that come with damage to their wheels, shocks, mags and rims (which may lead to further problems like issues with vehicle suspension and vehicle alignment), the reality is that potholes can pose a real risk to the safety of all inside a car.

It’s possible to claim for pothole damage from the South African National Road Agency (SANRAL), but this can be a lengthy process, with the motorist bearing the burden of proving that the pothole had been in existence for some time and that the relevant municipality had full knowledge of it. They also need to provide a picture of the car, the pothole, and the road and surrounding area, while pinpointing the exact location where the accident happened. It may be easier (and less dangerous) to try to avoid pothole damage in the first place:

  • Don’t slam on your brakes when you drive over a pothole. This may cause an accident or add further damage to your car.
  • Don’t swerve around the pothole as this may endanger other road users.
  • To avoid losing control of the vehicle, hold tightly to the steering wheel and drive slowly.
  • Be extra cautious when roads are wet, as it is hard to tell if there is a pothole beneath puddles. If possible, drive slowly around wet spots on the road.
  • Be alert to signs of damage. If your steering wheel starts to vibrate, you have probably damaged one of the front rims. A vibrating seat, on the other hand, signifies a damaged rear rim. A deflated tyre is another sign of a damaged rim.
  • If you live in Gauteng, report potholes on the app PotholeFixGP App.

Don’t skip your service


Motorists can’t be blamed for wanting to save money where they can – after all, it feels as though petrol price increases are hitting us without reprieve.

But, while some expenses may be considered negotiable, a car service is not one of them. That’s because regular maintenance is critical for the overall roadworthiness of the car, and missing even one service can lead to an accident.

It’s important to let your customers know that they should adhere to the car manufacturers’ regular service intervals – if in doubt, they can ask for your advice. Remind them, too, that no repairs will be made to their car without getting your go-ahead first, after you have quoted them on labour and parts. 

However, if they keep on driving without having a service at the correct time, they may well be behind the wheel of a car that has malfunctioning parts – something that can be corrected thanks to the thorough assessment of all components during routine maintenance, so that damage does not go on to cause further issues. 

Motorists must be reminded that services are crucial even if they don’t drive their cars very often. Oil changes are especially important because oil degrades over time – even if the car does nothing more than stay in the garage.

All told, motorists stand to spend more in the long run if they skip their annual service.

From the Director’s Desk, June 2022


If there’s one thing on our minds this month, it’s money. With most of us paying significantly more for everything – from groceries to transport and petrol – we can’t be blamed. 

That’s why, this month, we’ve tried to offer some practical advice around savings, while also providing our usual helpful tips for keeping cars in sound working order – something cash-strapped motorists are certain to appreciate, as damage often leads to expensive repairs in the long term.

In the past month, we’ve celebrated a number of face-to-face events, meeting in person for the first time in years. Our Western Cape training and NEC meeting at Automechanika reminded us just how good it is to interact without a computer screen between us, and we can’t wait to have more engagements. 

One such engagement is Motor Mech, recently hosted by our Eastern Cape region. It was a stunning success, doing much to showcase MIWA and expose potential artisans to the industry. 

We hope that you find this newsletter informative, inspiring and insightful.

Pieter Niemand,
MIWA National Director