Repair workshops urge government not to exclude them

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Emerging vehicle repair workshop owners are appealing to the government not to generalise their industry due to the actions of a few, as thousands of small vehicle repair and bodywork merchants face the prospect of losing the lucrative South African Police Service (SAPS) maintenance contract.

Earlier this year, SAPS management issued an instruction to exclude small workshops from repairing its vehicles, citing concerns over quality assurance and prolonged delays affecting fleet availability and service delivery.

Mandla Khumalo, owner of Amandla CV Joints, is among the 9 000 small emerging vehicle repair owners benefiting from the RT46 Contract administered by Wesbank on behalf of National Treasury. However, the withdrawal of SAPS from the contract poses a significant setback for Khumalo, who receives nearly 80% of his work from SAPS.

Khumalo says, “It will affect us because when we enter into this contract we are paying like insurance, insurance for these cars is about six thousand per month and they want qualified technicians. Qualified technicians are expensive. Also that person and other staff will lose their jobs because we won’t have that money because we’ve already spent … a lot of people will lose.”

Vehicle repair workshop owners urge Govt not to judge all by a few:

Clara Mahange, owner of Kennly Motors, and Sisa Mbangxa, President of African Panelbeaters and Motor Mechanics Association, echoed Khumalo’s sentiments, highlighting the devastating impact on small workshops and their employees.

Mahange emphasised, “We need the tender to come back. “There’s a lot of things that people are losing already. People are losing houses, people are losing everything.”

Mbangxa added, “In this contract there are about 9 000 SMMEs that are participating in this contract, which means that the impact and negative impact that is going to be made by this anti-competitiveness and anti-revolutionary stance that has been taken by the SAPS. There are about 54 000 jobs, direct jobs that are going to be lost and 9 000 SMMEs that are going to be closed down. Indirect jobs, about 15 000 and 450 million a month, are going to be lost to the SMMEs.”