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The process of economic transformation kicked into a higher gear recently with the formation of a new representative body called South African Auto Repair and Allied Association (SAARAA). It is designed to speed up more work supply on damaged vehicles in collision repair towards black enterprise companies from historically disadvantaged black enterprise.

Ravi Chetty, who will head up the new association, has a long successful history in Gauteng and manages three successful body shop operations. He says that in his opinion transformation is not really being felt or genuinely pursued in the collision repair trade. This is the reason that they want to start their own representative organisation for owner members who are serious about transformation and BBBEE legislation.

“We also want to make it clear that all body shops are welcome, not just black-owned concerns. We want to invite any concern that is serious about transformation in our industry to join – no matter their colour.”

Their members are driven to see major changes within the industry because their concerns are not being listened to by other organisations. They have been astounded by the response to the launch and have already signed up 35 members in Gauteng with further interest being shown in other regions across the country.

“Our membership will also represent all types of body shops from major structural repairers to entry level auto repair centres. We have also appointed a committee to cover the initial start-up phase. They are to handle all issues that members may need resolving,” said Chetty.

To help in this endeavour, SAARAA have been able to obtain assistance from BASF Coatings, RSB and Gondolier. They will help to keep an eye on quality control and improve output training.

SAARAA KZN have also moved to organise a new 8 000 square metre facility for storage of damaged vehicles in conjunction with some high profile insurance companies. “We’re hoping that this type of collaborative development with insurers such as Hollard, Old Mutual, King Price and Santam, amongst others, will ultimately lead to a much more level playing field in regard to work procurement for our members.  It is our belief that the move to assist transparency in many areas of accident damage repair will ultimately bring benefits to our new membership,” Ravi concluded.

SAARAA have been going for eight years in KZN and Cape Town to date and have just opened in Gauteng. The total membership of SAARAA nationally now stands at 350 members.

For enquries in Gauteng call +27 (0)82 330 1314 or email admin.gp@saaraa.co.za and for KZN call +27 (0)31 309 1411 or email admin@saaraa.co.za