A race row in the panel-beating industry is reaching boiling point, and regulatory bodies warn an amicable and lasting resolution seems a long way off.
Several black-owned and smaller white panel-beating companies belonging to the South African Repairer and Salvage Association (Saarsa) say transformation in the industry has hit deadlock and they have been cut out of business.
But the other body in the industry, the South African Motor Body Repair Association (Sambra), has hit back, saying it had members of all colours, who secured work because they were skilled and had the best equipment.
Saarsa claims the insurance companies' list of preferred service providers - known as a panel system - is weighted heavily in favour of large, white-owned companies, all of which belong to Sambra.
Saarsa members are also unhappy about the nationally set grading system, which effectively limits the scope of work a shop may complete.
They claim systems have been manipulated to ensure the large white-owned companies get the most lucrative jobs, leaving black-owned companies and many small white-owned companies out in the cold. As a result some are being forced to close or downsize.
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"We don't want this to be perceived as reverse racism - this is blatant economic discrimination. We are calling for a complete rehabilitation of this industry to ensure smaller role players can also trade in this environment."
full story from IOL here