Eight Edition 15th November 2010 Belated greetings!! It has been some time now, since the last bulletin was published.Members in the interim have been asking, “What is happening? Why so quiet? Why must we work and subcontract as slaves?”And many more questions.Well, the UTASA ex-co has been very busy lately, more so than was originally anticipated. The Ex-co has been in meetings, negotiating procurement for you the members, as well as meetings with different sectors within the DTi, National Department of Transport, and other State owned Enterprises (SOE).An update on the VTC (Vehicle Technical Committee forum) for those who may be querying UTASA’s stance on the proceedings, this is not about UTASA either being in favour or not. The VTC was formed after complaints from manufacturers and builders that Breakdown Vehicles are being built in the back yards of private individuals, with no consideration for safety aspects etc.What is now taking place is that the VTC, which includes participants as mentioned before, have to put a standard in place for the building of Breakdown Vehicles. The NRTA will probably see the definition of Breakdown Vehicle, changed to that of Tow truck. However, the VTC has at this stage not reached consensus on the definition of a Tow truck. Once that has been achieved, the next step is to discuss a national standard for the building of Tow trucks, and WHO may build Tow Trucks.This is why there will be a moratorium placed on the Building of tow trucks until further notice, once the Minister of Transport has signed the moratorium. As mentioned in previous communications by UTASA to the Towing Industry, the minimum tare weight will be subjected to 2500 Kg.UTASA is also not an organisation who only takes decisions at executive level.You as members will have input into these discussions once we have some form of clarity, and will then get input fromthe industry.I trust this clarifies and eliminates any doubts in your mind about where you stand with UTASA as your association.So, what has happened further this year with UTASA? Well, firstly, UTASA has continued its good business relationships with SANTAM, HOLLARD and Zurich, as well as some other companies with whom UTASA procures. But this would not have been possible without you, the members, exhibiting ethical and professional behaviour. The current Insurers’ with whom UTASA has national Service Level Agreements, (SLA), have commended UTASA members, for their conduct. So! From UTASA, a huge thanks to all UTASA members out there.UTASA has also been negotiating with other insurers, and may be fortunate to conclude these deals early in 2011. Unfortunately, due to the unscrupulous and abusive behaviour of some individuals in the past, some insurers are reluctant to work through associations and prefer call centres. This is where UTASA then negotiates with these insurers where possible, to get procurement for our members through the call centre structures. It has been a long road of negotiations, but we are starting to reap the benefits.Then, one of the biggest problems most of you have always faced with the majority of call centres is payment. I, as national Chairman, want to take this opportunity to thank Miss Julie Nunes, the National Treasurer of UTASA, for paying the UTASA members timeously. She has put immense effort into ensuring that the members are paid way before due date, at times within 48 Hours, and not longer than 7 days on receipt of invoice. Julie has offered up her private life to ensure that our members’ interests are placed first. Thanking you Julie from the bottom of our hearts.But folk let us not forget some of our other Ex-co who also work extremely hard out there, Mr Msai Maphisa, the Vice Chairman, has been instrumental in many of our meetings, putting forward the interest of the members, explaining to insurers the past of the industry, where many of you have been excluded from procurement, due to the unscrupulous actions of self centred and greedy Individuals, and Exclusive deals with Monopolistic entities, which have resulted in some tow Companies closing. Today, thanks to UTASA, which belongs to the members, and our business partners, competition is better, thereby allowing all to procure with our business partners.Msai has even been lured into leaving UTASA by unscrupulous predators, but because of his Integrity, Loyalty and honesty, he has told these predators, that he was one of the reasons UTASA was started, and has no interest in their offerings. The colour of the money was good, but his integrity is worth far more than the R3 Million offered. Msai, as we call you our brother and comrade, thank you for making a huge difference within UTASA and always being an inspiration to us all.In Cape Town, we have our secretary, Mrs Ashlene Smith. This lady, whom most of the Western Cape tow operators know well, has had to fight her way through the world of men.Most Western Cape towers were of the opinion that a woman has no place in this industry.Well, Ashlene has proved otherwise, as difficult as it has been for her, doing her utmost best on her own, she has done a lot for the association in Cape Town. I recall a meeting a few weeks ago in Gauteng at the Gauteng Tow Truck Technical committee, when the Chairman of the meeting, a Gauteng Government Official asked, where the women are. In fact, this Government official intends to transform the imbalances within the industry. Ashlene, we know there have been really tough times, arguments, but still you have held on, held your head high, and done your utmost best, even though this is a male dominated industry. I have spoken to many operators in Cape Town, and I can tell you, even though it does not always show, they have huge respect for you, and so do we at UTASA. It is seldom that people say thank you, but from me and the rest of the ex-co and members, thank you for your hard work. It certainly has not gone unnoticed! To those who have assisted you, Like Sammy Meyer, thank you too. And obviously to your husband Kevin, who has taken a lot of flack and made sacrifices.To the rest of the ex-co of UTASA, Donald Ndinisa, Daniel Mothusi, Patricia Mbunyane, Solly Mbunyane, thank you for all your inputs throughout the year.And finally, to the employees in the call centre, thank you for your hard work. We know that you have had at times to, tolerate bad tempers and foul language from tow operators and members of the public. We appreciate the calm and professional attitude under trying circumstances. You have also made a huge difference to the members, and it is always great to still see you smiling.And then, I would like to thank ALL the members of UTASA. Thank you for your loyalty and trust that you have placed on the Executive of UTASA. As I have said before at meetings, UTASA is only as good as its membership. UTASA does not belong to an individual, but to all its members. I urge you to please, at any time, contact UTASA and if not happy with the Association, to air you view. UTASA will always be there for you, and will always listen and take your interests to heart, no matter who says what. The association is owned by you the members, not the executive. We are there to fulfil your needs as far as is possible.Furthermore, UTASA would appreciate input from the members, and suggestions, if any, on how to improve on what we have achieved thus far.From myself the National Chairman of UTASA, I want to thank everybody within UTASA, members, employees and executive, for the hard work that has gone into 2010. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Prosperous 2011. Should you be going away on leave and travelling, please travel safely and enjoy the special time with your families. Should you not be available for work during the Festive Season, PLEASE let the offices know in time, so we can note on the system.Last but not least, UTASA wishes to thank our business partners, SANTAM, HOLLARD, Zurich SA, and the many brokers who use UTASA, for the trust and confidence you have displayed to UTASA and its members. May you too have a great Festive Season, and we look forward to a prosperous 2011.Festive Greetings to all,Ettienne Pel,National Chairman UTASA.