The South African Motor Body Repairer’s Association (SAMBRA) will ramp up its efforts to have the details of previously written-off vehicles published for public consumption. This information is currently contained in a so-called Vehicle Salvage Database (VSD), which is used as a reference source by the South African Insurance Association (SAIA) and the Insurance Crime Board (108), amongst others.
SAMBRA has taken SAIA and others to task about the publication of the V80 database for the past four and a half years and it eventually agreed to do so at the start of this year (2022).
“We took on this task as a strategic project after it became clear that the publication of the VSD was in the public interest,” says Richard Green, National Director of SAMBRA.
“Keep in mind that this issue has been ongoing for the last ten to fifteen years. We took it on because we can take the moral high ground without fear of reprisal and pursue it as a matter of public interest.
Following the agreement earlier this year, SAMBRA, SAIA and other organisations such as the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) formed a task team to work towards the publication of the V80 database.
This task team agreed to co-fund the creation of the database so that the public could access it free of charge.
Since this initial decision was made, progress has been slow. SAMBRA has also been removed from the task team, which technically excludes the voice of the vehicle body repair industry and the public.
This state of affairs was the main agenda point at the recent SAMBRA Vehicle Write-off Conference, which was held at Emperor’s Palace in Kempton Park on 19 May 2022, and it was attended by SAMBRA and RMI (Retail Motor Industry) officials and representatives from across the automotive industry. Green and other presenters used the morning sessions to set the scene for an afternoon discussion. They shared reports of badly done repairs and illegal repairs that put Code 2, which should have been coded 3 or 4 (written-off) vehicles back on the road and in the hands of unsuspecting customers.
In the afternoon, the conference goers discussed ways that they could assist with or expedite the publication of the VSD. This led to the decision to form a SAMBRA Task Team, which would work independently of the other task team and would continue to exert pressure to have the information published.
According to Green, SAMBRA and its members are willing to sacrifice historic data on the VSD in order to have it made public. They have also recommitted themselves to working in the public interest to have the database published and to add their own information to the database.
“As SAMBRA, we have committed to providing information to the database on any and every vehicle that we perform serious structural repairs on. We will also engage with the SA Police Service and other organs of state to collect similar data from vehicles that are not insured,” says Green.