- The popularity of e-services has skyrocketed in South Africa, with fitters from the informal sector seeming to be the big winners from the trend.
- Pioneering phone-ordering companies Uber and Bolt allow drivers to make their own decisions about maintenance, but enforce safety standards.
- The authorities on the matter say that the informal mechanics are as well mostly Cheaper while offering good service, many might be surprised at how well equipped they are.
- For more stories, visit Tech and Trends Homepage.
When Sisa Mbangxa, President of the African Association of Dealers and Motor Mechanics, realized that the rise of electronic paging services in South Africa was not going to be rapid, he was excited about the work these drivers could bring.
The federation, which represents more than 65 independent plate-beating workshops and fitters, are the “fitters in the middle,” says Mbangxa.
But to his surprise, there hasn’t been much change in the business, and instead, the winners for more maintenance and service clients seem to be those in the informal sector.
“On our side, we haven’t seen much change,” Mbangxa said, adding that reaching clients was a challenge for its members.
He explained that there were three broad classes of mechanics in South Africa, informal and independent mechanic shops, as well as mechanics affiliated with particular dealerships.
This was supported by SA-haling Association spokeswoman Vhatuka Mbelengwa.
He said the majority of e-recall car drivers go to mechanics in the informal sector to maintain their cars, because these mechanics are generally very efficient and offer lower prices.
“I think there is a huge impact [from the rise of e-hailing] On mechanics in the informal sector. These guys get a lot of business.”
“This is a result of the need for the electronic communication services sector to find cheaper alternatives to continue car maintenance,” he said.
Embelingua said drivers will often go to a more formal mechanic for more technical work, for example that requires more specialized machinery.
JG Alcock is an expert on the informal economy in South Africa and author of Casenomicshe said that while it’s hard to measure the impact electronic paging has had on what he calls “casemechanics,” there has been exponential growth.
Cassie is a generic term often used to refer to towns.
It is estimated that there are about 80,000 “cosmic mechanics” and plate strikers in South Africa. “Nearly 40% of the motor vehicles on our roads are unfunded, and this has led to a massive sector drive, what I call the Casmechanic sector, in the borough area.”
He said that these mechanics are more skilled than they are usually given credit for.
“Informal doesn’t mean it’s unsophisticated, low-tech, and unstructured,” Alcock said, “it just means it operates in an unorganized property like a formal garage.”
Casem mechanics often work on a residential property, Alcock said, as most informal businesses do, or close to a parts store.
“You wouldn’t believe how well these guys are equipped,” he added.
Standards and guidelines
To understand the applicable maintenance requirements for phone service drivers, News24 reached out to Uber and Bolt.
Kagiso Khouli, Uber’s general manager for sub-Saharan Africa, said drivers on the platform operate as “independent contractors,” meaning they are free to make decisions regarding maintenance.
But he said Uber ensures their cars meet minimum road safety and quality standards. To enforce this, Uber performs a check before a driver boards and then on an annual basis thereafter.
As part of our community guidelines, drivers and delivery personnel are also expected to keep their vehicles, including brakes, seat belts and tires, in good working order.
“This means maintaining their vehicle in accordance with industry safety and maintenance standards and complying with all relevant laws and regulations.”
He said that the exact eligibility criteria for a vehicle vary according to the “product offering”.
the Uber site It states that four-door hatchbacks and four-door sedans must be more than eight years old to be eligible to operate within South Africa.
All Uber vehicles must have ABS safety features and driver and passenger airbags.
Drivers also have “broad discretion” as to where they choose to have their vehicles serviced and repaired, said Andrew Gasnollar, Bolt’s head of public policy for Eastern and Southern Africa.
Bolt drivers are also expected to undergo an annual inspection and ride-in process with Dekra, who enforce safety standards for vehicles.
Bolt reviews reports issued by Dekra (vehicle control organization) when riding vehicles and does not accept a vehicle with a below average rating on the platform.
Neither Bolt nor Uber have said they help drivers make sure their cars meet safety standards.
But Gasnollar said the Bolt is exploring ways to help maintain the car.
He said, “The partnerships that we are looking forward to developing currently include a database of reliable service providers who can provide service and maintenance services in addition to other value-added services for cars.”
pressure to comply
Mbilengwa said having proper vehicle safety standards is essential for the safety of passengers and drivers, but he lamented the lack of support provided to e-delivery drivers to ensure that their vehicles meet these standards.
If we have safe vehicles that provide a public service, we will make sure that people invest in these assets and can preserve these assets.
He added that there is a large supply of drivers on electronic communication platforms, which makes it logical for companies to set high maintenance standards and only cancel the commission on cars that do not meet these standards.
“There are so many compounds, so much saturation and demand, and it’s always easy to find a replacement [driver] To add a new vehicle.