A year of growth and change

Year end always brings with it a sense of reflection and contemplation of the year ahead. After a bit of a well-deserved rest, of course, says Jakkie Olivier, CEO of the RMI.
This year has, once again, been a year of challenges and achievements, not only in our industry, but for the country as a whole.
While there were some small upturns in vehicle sales and consumer and business confidence during the year, growth was relatively small and economic forecasts continue to be bearish.
For the RMI, membership growth, at close to seven per cent, was very pleasing given the challenging external economic factors and conditions.
Our financial position improved on the previous year, and the drive to improve credit control, expediting membership subscription recovery and higher interest earned on investments contributed to a satisfactory increase in revenue of 6.3%. This was definitely a highlight for us.
Another highlight included our successful bid on two Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) initiatives for Automotive Motor Mechanic and Diesel Mechanic Trades.  This will generate ongoing income until completion in 2022.
Transformation and Training and Skills Development remained top priorities for the year, and I am happy to report that good progress was made on all fronts, including the establishment of international partnerships to support skills development interventions for members.
Other ongoing initiatives are the investigation into the possibility of establishing a Motor Industry Academy, the development of an IR skills toolkit for members, member education on relevant industry legislation, policy and compliance, and establishing partnerships to set up an e-learning platform for members.
An important support service that the RMI offers to its members is that of consumer mediation. The RMI’s highly skilled team of consumer affairs specialists managed to record a settlement rate of nearly 95% of all consumer disputes and complaints referred to the Organisation.
The year also saw various transformation initiatives, most notably the development of a qualification for National African Association for Automobile Services Providers (NAAASP) Members. These members have also been offered developmental RMI memberships with a view to becoming full members once qualified.
The foundations were also laid for the RMI to be established and registered as a Professional Body for Automotive designations, a project that once implemented will professionalise jobs in the automotive industry. We are delighted to confirm that this project will be with the support and backing of the very experienced and internationally recognised UK-based Institute for the Motor Industry (IMI).
This year marked some important milestones in the history of the RMI. Not only did we start to see the tangible business benefits of the RMI’s New Thinking Model (NTM) and see substantial progress being made in our identified key focus areas, but we also managed to prove that the Organisation was more relevant and more transformational than ever before. And for a 110-year-old, I think we achieved remarkable success!
I wish all our members, the RMI Board and other committee structures, management and staff of the RMI, as well as our readers, a happy festive season. Please travel safely and enjoy some downtime.
Lastly, I would like to thank you all for your support, loyalty and contribution to making the RMI a success.
As we look toward a New Year, let’s remember that belonging is better business. And to all vehicle owners, be assured that the RMI remains the leading body in the South African automotive aftermarket – our voice is your peace of mind.