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MIWA meets face-to-face

This month marked an auspicious occasion for MIWA’s NEC: the first time the council has met face-to-face in more than 30 months. 

The meeting took place on 4 March at Blaauklippen Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, and provided a platform for discussions around future strategies and how these may be aligned with the overarching RMI strategic priorities for the period 2022–2025, as identified by the RMI Board. The council further examined activities that have a direct impact on the day-to-day management of workshops, and the outcomes of these discussions were added to MIWA’s strategies for implementation. The meeting also provided an opportunity for service providers to offer feedback to MIWA members, on issues such as current service delivery and future developments.

Although we are fortunate to have the technology allowing us to meet online during the lockdown period, and we have adapted by embracing a hybrid model that allows for both face-to-face and online meetings, the success of this gathering is proof of the power of getting personal. We garnered some outstanding insights during the sessions, thanks to greater focus and fewer interruptions; not to mention our innate need to connect, react, respond and participate.

RMI supports clampdown on roadside repairs

As MIWA members, it is frustrating to imagine that illegal operators are conducting roadside vehicle repairs. 

The actions of these operators impact us on so many levels – for a start, they are in direct contravention of municipal bylaws. They also compromise the integrity of the automotive aftermarket industry as a whole, while causing damage to the environment through the use of dangerous, noxious and flammable substances. Most alarming of all, however, is that illegal repairs take place without regulatory compliance, often with the use of unskilled labour and compromised parts – all adding to repairs which are far from safe and pose a risk to drivers, passengers and other road users. 

RMI is therefore entirely supportive of the action taken by JMPD earlier this month to stop illegal roadside repairs. The association also showed its disapproval of illegal repairs by attending a National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRSC) destruction ceremony, where R80 million of automotive friction material (including brake pads and brake linings) was destroyed. 

As a further move to protect the industry from illegal operators, RMI supports the National African Association of Automobile Service Providers (NAAASP)’s special project to uplift informal motor businesses. This initiative seeks to foster transformation in the industry by mentoring small, black-owned information businesses serving the automotive repair and maintenance aftermarket. 

Finally, it is preparing to launch a Whistle Blower Hotline, enabling individuals to report instances of illicit trading.

Photo caption and credit:
The Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) said it had observed an increase in people repairing or washing cars on roads and pavements, and warned that this contravened bylaws.
Photo credit: JMPD
See article by clicking here.

R2R Top Tier Sponsor: Spotlight on Car Care Clinic

Every month, we shed the spotlight on one of Right2Repair’s top tier sponsors. This time, we’re learning more about the Car Care Clinic, which has recently come on board as a sponsor.

Car Care Clinic is a network of independently owned franchises operating nationwide. They pride themselves in providing excellent mechanical, maintenance and auto electrical workmanship, for all makes of vehicles (cars, bakkies and 4 x4’s). All workmanship is guaranteed for six months or 10 000km.

All staff are fully trained and qualified, with all workshops holding 5-star RMI accreditation, thus ensuring top quality workmanship and customer satisfaction. All work is performed using the latest diagnostic equipment to ensure the correct service is undertaken and that any faults found can be reported and rectified accordingly.

All franchisees are closely monitored by the franchisor to ensure only the best quality is given to customers and you can expect the same fantastic level of service no matter which branch you visit.

All Car Care Clinic branches offer the following services:

  • Brakes
  • Shocks
  • Cambelt and timing chains
  • Aircon repairs and regas
  • Major services on LDV and commercial vehicles, petrol and diesel, A service and B service
  • Radiator and cooling systems
  • Fleet maintenance
  • Insurance warranty claims

Opening Times
Monday to Friday 7am – 17:30pm | Saturday 8am – 13:00pm

Phone Number
011 764 2128

Email Car Care Clinic

RMI stands up against GBV

Gender-based violence (GBV) came to our attention during lockdown when cases increased significantly – but the reality is that it has long been a problem in South Africa.

While people may consider GBV a domestic issue, it affects every facet of our lives, even if we are not directly impacted as victims. This is why employers have a responsibility to protect their workers. With this in mind, the International Labour Organisation adopted Convention No. 190 on Eliminating Violence and Harassment in the World of Work (C190). This convention is intended to signal that employers will not tolerate violence and harassment in the workplace.

Although South Africa’s government has indicated its intention to ratify the convention, it has yet to do so. This presents an opportunity for the motor industry to set an example by embracing the principles of the convention while promoting equality and diversity. 

We, therefore, ask all employers to familiarise themselves with the stipulations of C190 and to ensure they understand their responsibilities. Noni Tshabalala, RMI’s transformation director, will be reaching out to all members to help them unpack the recommendations of the convention and ensure you understand your obligations.

At the same time, we are proud to report that we have been invited to participate in the Industry Equality Diversity Forum (IEDF), which aims to promote diversity in the motor industry and help stakeholders achieve dignified, equitable workplaces free from violence and harassment. We look forward to reporting back on the outcomes of this forum.

In the meantime, RMI has partnered with MISA to help employers formulate workable policies which may lead to greater equality and diversity in the workplace.

911 Service Centre Grading

Our grading system is key to the quality of our offering – it’s what makes us able to offer clients peace of mind. That’s why the accomplishment of 911 Service Centre, which recently achieved a 100% grading, deserves to be celebrated.

Located in Strand, 911 Service Centre is manned by owners Conrad and Joanna Schrenk and their 13 staff members. The Schenks purchased the business in December 2011, and since then have focused on providing a five-star maintenance and repair service for German vehicles, specifically Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. 

The couple is ecstatic with their achievement, but they’re not about to rest on their laurels: “Having a good grading goes a long way when it comes to giving clients peace of mind, but it definitely does not end there. We have to continuously give good customer service and find ways to improve,” says Conrad.

His advice to other workshop owners striving for a higher grading? “We followed the helpful checklist provided by RMI, which proved very useful in preparing for the grading process. If you follow the checklist and make sure you achieve everything stipulated, you are sure to receive a good grading. Brione, in particular, was always extremely helpful whenever we had questions, so don’t be afraid to ask her to clarify anything you’re not sure of.”

Welcoming Worcester’s first female apprentice

Despite efforts to improve gender diversity in the industry, female apprentices are rare. Baxter Auto Services, established by Charles Baxter in 1992, is therefore extremely proud to welcome on board Codene Arendse, the first female car mechanic in Worcester.

Charles and his son, Charlton, have been actively involved in training apprentices since 1994, taking on students who have completed the theoretical part of their training at colleges like Motus Training Academy and Boland College, but who still need to complete a practical component. Charles is especially enthusiastic about the training because, as he points out, it helps to keep young people off the streets.

Charles Baxter and Codene Arendse.

Charles informs that Codene started her training in January 2018, and completed her NQF levels 2, 3 and 4 before passing the trade test. “Codene is very good at her work,” he says. “It’s not easy getting this qualification – most people fail their first attempt. Although we usually help the apprentices find jobs at other workshops, I was so impressed with Codene that I gave her a job at my own workshop.”

Charles notes that one of the reasons the qualification is so challenging is because it has a strong maths and science component – important because so many of the new vehicles require skills centered around electronics. This may account for the skills shortage in the area – although Charles is happy to say that he is seeing a growing interest from women. He’s not surprised: this is a job that requires a lot of hard work and discipline, which comes naturally to women. He is hoping to see another female apprentice enrol at Baxter Motors this year, as the schools generally send up to six students to look around the workshop and gain an insight into what their career as an apprentice would be. 

Charles is a strong supporter of bodies like MIWA and RMI, noting that membership is a true asset if you are looking to grow your business by accessing insured customers. “There are so many checks and balances to ensure your work is up to standard. I’m proud to say that we are a five-star graded workshop. The support we get from RMI and MIWA is incredible,” he concludes.

How happy are you?

Did you know that the US celebrated National I Want You To Be Happy Day on 3 March? Switching on happiness sounds like quite a tall order – especially when there are so many reasons for us to feel, well, less than content at present. That said, upping your happiness quotient may be easier than you think. Here’s how:

  1. Celebrate little victories. The true milestones in life – the massive achievements or life-changing moments – come around so seldom that we’d never have anything to celebrate if we waited for them. Even birthdays only happen once a year! So, instead, try to find something good to smile about every day: a great chat with your spouse, for example, or a compliment from a customer.
  2. Be in the moment. We’re hearing a lot about mindfulness since the onset of the pandemic, but it’s true: stress and anxiety come about by worrying about things that may happen in the future. Focus on what is in front of you, right now, and you’ll find it easier to keep a positive mindset.
  3. Don’t live beyond your means. This is a pretty simple – yet entirely practical – rule for living. Since so much of our stress comes from living beyond our means, one of the easiest ways to reduce that stress is by spending wisely.
  4. Be authentic. So often, we follow goals set for us by other people – and wonder why we don’t feel fulfilled when we achieve them. Have the courage to listen to your own heart and act on it – and you’ll reap the rewards of richer relationships and greater happiness as a result.

Making petrol go further

Chances are more than one of your customers has commented on the eye-watering cost of fuel – and with the war in the Ukraine continuing, the price is only going to get higher. Here are some simple techniques that may help them reduce their fuel consumption:

  • Be aware of factors that may add to your fuel consumption, from adding accessories to your 4×4 to driving with short bursts of acceleration.
  • Where possible, maintain a steady speed. This makes it possible for the engine management system to adjust to the most economical settings for optimal fuel consumption.
  • Don’t accelerate aggressively while the car’s engine is cold, as this consumes a lot of fuel.
  • Consider turning off the engine if you are stuck in heavy traffic, and restarting once the cars start moving again – but be aware that continuous switch offs will drain your battery.
  • Take care of basic maintenance and keep an eye on tyre pressure and alignment.
  • Ensuring that your car is in good running order will go a long way to preventing excessive fuel consumption.

Training: Focus on Ferodo Brakes

As you know, we are strong supporters of ongoing training and upskilling – we believe that this is the secret to providing enhanced customer service.

One of the latest initiatives in this area focused on Ferodo Brakes. The workshop which was organised by Cliffie Jacobs, our MIWA Training Representative for the Eastern Cape, was attended by around 24 people, including MIWA members and Midas staffers. It provided members with a comprehensive overview of the braking system, equipping attendees to identify problems and prevent or correct issues before they escalate. 

Training of this nature is invaluable, as new products and technologies are introduced to the market regularly. It’s helpful for MIWA members to understand how these products work and how they benefit customers, whether that’s because they offer greater value for money or because they are more environmentally friendly. It’s also useful to be able to judge the quality of the products we fit to our customers’ vehicles.

“We plan to offer such workshops on a three-monthly basis, depending on the support from suppliers and MIWA members,” concludes Jacobs.