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Region in the spotlight: Border region

Learn about what our Border and Eastern Cape regional committees have been up to, and what makes them excited for the months ahead.

After a challenging year, workshops in the Border region are starting to collaborate – with excellent results.

Theresa Spencer Higgs

Regional chairperson Theresa Spenser-Higgs notes that there have been a number of exciting developments throughout the year. She points to the Association’s partnership with Port Rex High, which has been supported with significant excitement and enthusiasm from school staff and learners alike. “This bodes well for fostering a new generation of talent,” she notes.

The East London Moto Mech Show, incorporating the Junior Tech Competition, shows what can be achieved through such partnerships. Hosted in conjunction with the Port Rex Technical College, this year’s event has been moved to early 2021 and promises to provide an excellent opportunity to showcase MIWA workshops while cultivating relationships with future apprentices.

Theresa is pleased to see that cooperation is increasing not only between the Regional Committee and key stakeholders but also between member workshops. “It’s heartening to see workshop owners viewing each other as fellow competitors, rather than ‘the competition’ – and if this dynamic can be encouraged, it will work to everyone’s benefit, strengthening the MIWA brand in the region. This will lead to increased business, as customers learn what MIWA workshops stand for,” she says.  

The Moto Mech East London team.

Training sessions, such as the product training hosted by the regional committee, have been a help in this area, contributing to a higher standard of work amongst members.

That said, there are some stumbling blocks to be overcome; primarily in the form of workshops that refuse to comply with Covid-19 regulations. “Unfortunately, these tarnish the image of compliant workshops and damage the reputation of the industry as a whole.”

Even so, Theresa is optimistic about the future. “Next year will see consumers taking note of MIWA,” she predicts, “with events such as Moto Mech helping to raise the Association’s profile.” She’s also excited by the new offerings presented by the Association, such as the launch of online Electude training for apprentices, the new corporate image manual, and the introduction of new audits and accreditations. “MIWA members will benefit from relationships with warranty companies which protect their interests,” Theresa adds, “with all of these actions helping to build a strong foundation for future success.”

Bridget Finn with two beautiful classic cars at the Moto Mech Show.

Eastern Cape

Jack Finn

Jack Finn, the chairperson of the Eastern Cape regional committee, is proud that the region has withstood the pandemic and lockdown, recording only a limited number of closures. “It’s a sure sign of the region’s resilience and dedication,” he says.

He notes that now that everyone is back to work, there are issues that have to be addressed. “For instance, the pandemic has affected the availability of flights, which has had a knock-on effect on how frequently parts may be obtained. Crime has also escalated as a result of the pandemic, with many workshops reporting car theft and break-ins.”

The highlight of the year, for Jack, was the Moto Mech Show, which provided excellent exposure and was highly successful. Returning to work is also considered a highlight for many, especially now that business has gained momentum. Jack is particularly pleased to see that more customers are booking services, indicating that they are taking their car’s health more seriously. “This trend shows that the committee’s effort to educate consumers is paying off.”

Going forward, Jack says that there will be fewer new car sales, which means that people will keep their cars for longer and take better care to ensure their longevity. “That’s great news for aftermarket workshops, which should respond by making sure they are abreast of technology and provide flawless service,” he concludes. 

Border and Eastern Cape teams busy during lockdown

The teams in Border and Eastern Cape have been busy during lockdown making kennels for Mandala Day, Donating medals to local schools, in house workshop training as well as some event sponsorships,  participation in social outreach programmes and some fun sports and hobby karting activities prior to the lockdown.