Koji Sasahara  AP
Koji Sasahara AP

Competition Commission ‘did not ignore’ Naamsa guidelines

By Brian Joss Time of article published Mar 24, 2020

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The Competition Commission did not ignore any recommendations by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) in producing its draft guidelines for automotive industry reform, says the head of communications, Sipho Ngwema, after claims by Naamsa that it had done so. (“Auto industry at crossroads over aftermarket reforms”
).

“We applied our minds to all the input and favourably considered that which was in line with the provisions and spirit of the Competition Act.

“We couldn’t agree on anything that didn’t advance the interest of fairness and inclusivity in the automotive aftermarkets.

“We have been formally engaging with the industry since March 2017. They have been stringing us along without any tangible commitments to opening up the sector to independent service providers,” Ngwema said.

In March last year, the commission was ready to “take the route it has taken” but was persuaded by Mike Mabasa, Naamsa’s newly appointed chief executive, to give him time to “reason with his members”.

“Since then they have offered nothing tangible except to point to the Masterplan 2035 that does not speak to our anti-competitive conduct concerns. At some point, we had to move on, as they had not been receptive of our sensible approach to this matter.

“We offered them an opportunity for self-regulation through a code of conduct, but only Mercedes-Benz supported this. After three years of being too accommodating, we had to move on. Their timespan of 15 years to finalise their Masterplan 2035 shows there is no commitment to address the issues the Competition Commission raised,” Ngwema said.

“We will prosecute companies that do not adhere to the guidelines. These help the consumer to have choices, equally capable and qualified but cheaper options. Consumers should be able to shop around for reasonable prices without the threat of losing warranties and service plans.

“For far too long, small, equally capable businesses, black and white, have been prevented from operating in this sector. There’s virtually no black business that is approved in the townships - that can’t be fair competition.”

The various industry bodies are submitting their responses to the draft guidelines.

Richard Green, national director of the SA Motor Body Repairer’s Association, said in its submission this week that, among other things, it was concerned about the clause referring to “non-original spare parts”.

These are spare parts that carry a warranty from its manufacturer, but there is no verifiable certification that ensured a purchaser could track origin and manufacture quality in South Africa.

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