BMW April 2022

There are times when you wonder about the government’s ability to be called fit for purpose as clearly their inspired communistic policies have got South Africa in a huge negative growth spiral.  The costs of setting up shop for business have become ever more difficult and not any easier with a raft of labour legislation promulgated in the last 20 years which is clearly confrontational. But for employers their unjustifiable demands for tax in excess of 122 trillion Rand last year alone leaves us with a kill joy society that’s always being asked to dig ever deeper and deeper into our pockets to support a truly bloated range of over-taxed and often very inefficient public employees.

Just take a look at our current fuel costs which are running close to record levels where we are still contributing around R2.54 per litre to the Road Accident Fund which currently is 17.2 Billion Rand in debt and facing around 400 huge unpaid court cases against it. So, it begs the question, why do we do this? It’s dead in the water so can we please go back to a motorist purchasing his or her own third party and dispense with one dead duck policy.  Already motorists are contributing in excess of 87 billion Rands per year in unwanted extra costs for their motoring fuel bill. This is cross subsidising all manner of public programmes – but these rarely come back to maintaining the road infrastructure in SA.

Covid-19 and all these government stealth taxes have put South Africa into the top 10 most taxed nations in the world, above the USA in fact.  Unlike Norway or Sweden, we won’t get a good pension, healthcare package or pie-in-the-sky no-charge schooling or electricity bill relief to count on when retirement day arrives.

The government has to see a way out of our economics spiral of low growth, lower tax paid and constant government meddling in the free enterprise system with their current failed fantasy of BEE seeing close to 40 000 capable and qualified professionals electing to reside overseas. Last year alone this brain-drain hardly got a mention on the news but is extremely serious for SA where this government continues to disenfranchise certain population groups for their own benefit.

So, it’s no small wonder that our overall economic output fell by some 50% in the first months of 2021. This, plus the very sad sight of government leaders on display at the state capture enquiry showing great ineptitude in many departments under television commissions’ scrutiny. The business of constant corruption and internal mismanagement, bickering and towering losses of money, doesn’t add up to any confidence that things will change any time soon.

There are few, if any, understandings of what running a small business is really like by our legislators in these ultra-tough times, as the disconnect between the ruling MPs seem to be growing even wider. The knock-on effects of the high fuel costs and their greedy short-term unadjusted agendas will bring a raft of cost increases and topple probably some of the remaining motor industry survivors into the depths of insolvency and despair.

The begging question will remain… is anyone out there listening as we face harder than ever business trading times for the foreseeable future? Stop taxing us any higher because a tax revolt is just around the corner and may well soon top the list of government’s screw-ups.

What’s in this issue?

ADAS, what’s in it for you, is the second part of our indepth look at ADAS and the opportunities it poses for body shops to become specialists in this new area (page 50).

Our Top Shop is a smaller body shop, Overstrand Panelbeaters, from Kleinmond in the Western Cape. Although small in number, this company has proved agile, flexible and provides the best customer service and quality repair (page 20). All Star Auto Body Repair Centre – another smaller body shop – scooped the Outsurance body shop of the year award (page 44).

The CRA have also had a busy month as they launched as partners in Fender Bender Finance programme – an opportunity for uninsured drivers to obtain financing and for body shops to be able to offer an alternative to customers who aren’t insured, can’t afford their excess or have suffered repudiated claims. Read more on page 34.