When any kind of injustice occurs, we need to fight for our rights.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were done wrong, but the other party made the situation seem like they were the victim? Twelve months ago, I bought a used car online from J&J Motors in Vereeniging. The car seemed on point except for a few defects that I discussed with the dealer.
It was agreed that these defects would be fixed prior before I took ownership. Throughout the process the contact person at the dealership, Johan van Staden, assured me that the defects were being attended to. When I collected my car, nothing we discussed had been done.
As you know, a car is a necessity to a person who has a disability; it’s not a luxury. Without my car, I’m literally disabled as I heavily rely on transport to get around and be productive. After three months with the car and countless breakdowns, with J&J Motors refusing to take responsibility, I reached out to the Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa (MIOSA) to intervene.
Fast forward to 10 months later, the Ombudsman ruled that the dealership needed to fix the defects within 21 days. If it failed, I could take the matter further to the National Consumer Commission. If the dealership was found not to be compliant, J&J Motors could face a fine of R1 million or ten percent of its annual turnover.
As you’re reading this, it’s been more than two months since the ruling and, once again, nothing has been done on my car. When I enquired, I was told that the dealership was struggling to source the car part, despite my offering assistance in sourcing a part. Van Staden argued that the suggested source was expensive.
Now the issue is being taken to the Consumer Commission. My right to accessible transport has been violated. It’s unfair to me and many other people who have to go through the same obstacles. I will not be compromised any further. For the dealer it’s business as usual, but I have to spend more on an expensive alternative in order to remain productive.
Justice must be done!
Emilie Olifant is a disability activist, entrepreneur and motivational speaker. She is the director of the Emilie Olifant Foundation, an organisation that strives to address socio-economic issues experienced by people with disabilities. email: firstname.lastname@example.org