Under Pressure to Trade Down Vehicles

The nationwide lockdown has had a negative impact and threatens the financial health of 65% of South African car buying consumers.

About 30% need to replace their vehicle within the next month. At the moment, car dealerships are not open for retail, but there is compelling evidence for them to trade under level 4 of lockdown according to George Mienie, chief executive officer of AutoTrader. 

He went on to say that with salary cuts and with consumers losing their jobs, they are showing an urgent need to free up cash or reduce their monthly bills. The search for vehicles under R50 000 have increased by almost 300% compared to pre-lockdown levels. This shows that South Africans are feeling the pressure and are worried about how they will feed their families. 

Mienie said that based on the consumer buying patterns pulled from AutoTrader data, South Africans are trading down across all the categories, even high level income consumers. 

According to anecdotal feedback from dealers that trade using AutoTrader, motorists are trading down from a R730 000 BMW X5 50D to a R500 000 BMW 520d. They are trading down from a R670 000 Mercedes-Benz ML63 to a R300 000 Mercedes-Benz C180. As well as trading down from a R335 000 Ford Ranger to a R160 000 Nissan NP200.

In the first week of May, specific lockdown buying patterns were established through the use of a survey on the platform. 

Mienie said that they have established that 30% of consumers are under pressure to replace their vehicle in the coming weeks. In order to avoid further financial implications for both consumers and dealers the pipeline needs to be managed. It is a case of the sooner the better, as the sooner consumers can trade with dealerships the sooner the financial pressures can be eased. 

It was expected that from May 4th, dealerships would be open to trade and on that day, there was a spike in website traffic. Compared to pre-lockdown levels, vehicle dealership enquires have increased by more than 150%. 

However, the doors are still not open as dealerships are waiting for specific directions from government so that they can start dealing. It is in the best interest of the South African consumer for this to happen soon. 

The government will also need to include independent dealerships as these fall into small to medium enterprise category and are probably the sector currently at risk. Also, used car sales outnumber new car sales by 2:1. 

In order for the proper functioning of the supply chain, all supporting infrastructure will need to operate from vehicle sales, to licence departments, to testing stations to roadworthy centres so that ownership can be transferred from the dealerships to the buyer can be completed under level 4. 

Article Source: https://businesstech.co.za/news/motoring/395553/south-africans-are-trading-down-on-their-vehicles/

Tighter Restrictions Might Be Needed for Joburg and Cape Town

Tighter restrictions might be required for Covid-19 hotspots like Johannesburg, Cape Town and eThekwini as the government begins to take a more granular approach in the assessment of the outbreak in the country.

On Sunday evening, 10thMay, a statement was published where the health minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize said that whilst good progress has been made in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak so far with the peak of infections still to hit and with flu season coming closer, the coming months will be faced with health pressures. 

Mkhize said that we are dealing with a dynamic situation and in various parts of the country they will be monitoring and evaluating the progress. It should be expected that there will be areas that they can’t let everything go back to normal as this will not be the best way. 

There could be instances where they may need to consider lockdowns and other instances where heightened interventions of various forms will need to be considered. 

He went on to say that on these issues they will need our cooperation and support. There is a long way to go, but increased pressure is still to come to our communities, especially with flu season on the horizon. 

The latest sentiments from Mkhize echoed his position on Saturday evening, commenting on the alarming rise of new infections in the Western Cape, where almost 50% of total positive cases have been reported. 

He went on to say that focus must be placed on working with healthcare professionals both private and public to make sure that those who do test positive are receiving the necessary care and are properly isolated. 

Even though the number of infections is rising, experts and several analysts have been calling on government to start opening the economy more rapidly. 

Chief executive of Genesis Analytics, Stephan Malherbe said that the easing of lockdown restrictions in South Arica has been successful in most of the areas identified by WHO, but has failed in taking a logical approach in opening the economy. 

He then said that it is very important to have a differentiated approach with the lockdown to various areas. 

The Western Cape is the epicentre of infections, and residents in smaller towns are begging government to not judge all areas the same. 

For instance, according to a Rapport report, residents of Kuruman in the Northern Cape where they have about 13 000 residents have so far been untouched by Covid-19 and yet must adhere to the same lockdown restrictions placed on the rest of the country. 

This past week, data has been published that shows the damage being done to the economy due to the umbrella lockdown approach. The data includes GDP decline of between 6% and 16%, job losses of between 1 and 7 million people and a potential loss in tax revenue of R285 billion. 

BASA, Business for SA has stated that a quick move to level 2 would save 1 million jobs, whilst allowing people to stay safe and follow Covid-19 protocols. 

Article Source: https://businesstech.co.za/news/government/396487/cape-town-and-joburg-may-need-tighter-restrictions-mkhize/

Ready for Back to Work? Here is the Checklist That Employers Need to Ensure Compliance

There are many businesses that might be heading back to work under Level 4 of lockdown, which creates a renewed risk for Covid-19 spreading.

All employers will have the safety of their team at the forefront of their minds, which will include decontamination and stringent Covid protocols like PPE, hand sanitation, regular cleaning of touch points and social distancing. 

Here is the checklist for all businesses going back to work and to ensure themselves, employees and customers are safe during this time. 

Decontaminate The Environment

The transmission of Covid 19 is through droplet spread, which means surfaces can be contaminated quickly. To ensure that a workplace is coronavirus free, having a decontamination protocol in place is the best way. The process involves the microbial fogging of all surfaces, workstations, production lines, floors, walls and ceilings with specialised chemicals and the areas are then air dried. The team responsible for decontamination is specially trained and kitted with the necessary PPE. Disposable PPE is immediately gotten rid of in a biohazard bag and is treated as a Health Care Risk Waste. 

Your Risk Analysis

If decontamination is done before your employees return to work then a risk analysis will need to be done afterwards, otherwise, this should already be in place. 

The assessment will determine high touch points and the cleaning regime required to maintain the hygiene standards. At a minimum, cleaning should occur daily with attention to mapped touch points. 

Having the Right Stuff

You will need to have the correct chemicals that are used in daily cleaning. Solutions high in alcohol work well for sensitive equipment and hard surface sanitising of small areas. Walls and floors should be cleaned with solutions containing sodium hypochlorite like bleach. 

Training Your Team

Every employee will need to comply with the rules, which means that all team members must be trained on the best personal hygiene practices. These behaviours rely on discipline and must be embedded within your staff. You need to ensure that hygiene reminders are posted everywhere.

The Right PPE

Businesses will need to ensure that they have an abundance of masks, gloves and hand sanitizers available. There will need to be strict protocols in place regarding the putting on and removing of PPE as well as its disposal. For single use items, there should be biohazard waste disposal mechanisms in place and fabric masks need to be washed and rotated often.

Social Distancing

Social distancing is a must and work zones will need to be designated, highlighted and well spaced. You can use tape to mark these zones or stickers for queues. Communal spaces need to be restricted or not is use like meeting rooms. There needs to be clear policies in place of how team members should interact with one another and with customers. 

Test Temperatures

Daily temperature testing should be enforced through the use of infrared thermometers. Also, ask questions in relation to health and find out if employees are experiencing cough, fever, sneezing, breathing difficulties, runny nose or general unwell feelings. You can log the results daily. 

Drills for Scenarios

Like fire drills, you should conduct drills on how to handle positive cases, breach of hygiene, a security incident and so on. Everyone will feel more prepared if anything were to happen. 

Having Support in Place

Employees will feel anxiety, stress and uncertainty, so employers should consider free counselling services during this time. 

Article Source: https://businesstech.co.za/news/business/393774/here-is-a-back-to-work-checklist-for-employers-to-ensure-compliance/

Legal Challenges Taken Against South Africa’s New Lockdown Rules

There are a number of legal challenges on the horizon for the South African government around the level 4 lockdown restrictions due to them being seen as overreaching on key issues. 

One of the main issues in the prohibition on the sale of tobacco products. The government has indicated that this point will not be referred for mediation as they don’t believe that there is anything to negotiate. 

The largest cigarette manufacturer, British American Tobacco has given Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma until the 4thMay for the decision to be reversed or they will face court.

The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association has also been consulting with its attorneys and has said that they will also be fighting this decision. 

Fita chairperson, Sinenhanhla Mnguni has said that illicit cigarettes are coming into the country through its borders and the government is losing billions, which could have been used in the fiscus. He also said that South Africans should be able to choose if they smoke or not. 

Overreaching of the NCC

There is also a legal challenge against President Ramaphosa over the role of the country’s National Command Council or NCC. 

Reported by The Sunday Independent, a group of attorneys are arguing that the NCC has effectively displaced statutory and constitutional bodies and in terms of the formation of restrictions they are overreaching. In a column for the same paper, Vuyani Ngalwana an advocate said that there needs to be clarity in terms of the power and legality of the NCC. He also said that the body appears to have no real legislative or constitutional existence. 

And What About Schools

Another legal challenge that the government is facing is over the early reopening of the country’s schools. On Tuesday, the Department of Basic Education will be taken to court to prevent the reopening of schools during level 4 according to the City Press. 

The case is being brought by the African Institute for Human Rights and Constitutional Litigation and The Tebeila Institute for Leadership, Education, Governance and Training as they believe that you can’t keep parents at home to prevent the spread of the virus whilst sending children to school to save the academic year. 

The Department of Basic Education, on Thursday, adjusted its proposed school calendar for 2020 to later in the year because of the ongoing concerns around Covid-19. Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga said that there isn’t a date yet for when pupils will go back to school and that from the 4thMay only the schooling sector will be open. Once administrative work is completed and has received approval from cabinet, then only the final dates for the school calendar will be published. 

Article Source: https://businesstech.co.za/news/government/394720/south-africas-new-lockdown-rules-face-major-legal-challenges/