The South African Tyre, Equipment, and Parts Association (TEPA) warned local motorists to be on the lookout for “illegal and inferior quality automotive parts” after the Hawks special crime unit discovered R5-million worth of fake NSK-branded bearings in a Tulisa Park, Johannesburg warehouse.
According to Vishal Premlall, National Director of TEPA, counterfeit products are only part of the problem as there is currently a wider proliferation of sub-standard quality parts flooding the domestic market and compromising consumers’ health and safety.
“The problem with these parts is there is very little, if any traceability, no technical support, and no recourse for the consumer,” said Premlall.
The discovery of the illegal bearing stash follows the destruction of R80-million worth of illegal automotive materials by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) earlier this year.
Fake bearings in Johannesburg warehouse
TEPA said it is actively engaging with compliance authorities to prevent counterfeit automotive goods from entering South Africa, and that it’s busy developing a whistle blower hotline where cases of illicit activities may be reported.
“We believe that these partnerships between industry and the statutory compliance authorities will go a long way to rid the country of unscrupulous trading activity and accordingly call on all other stakeholders to join this plight,” said TEPA.
“As the economy continues to tighten, more and more of these sub-standard products are creeping in and falling into the hands of cash-strapped consumers who do not realise the full impact of utilising inferior or counterfeit parts as they are referred to in the trade.”
Avoiding counterfeit parts
Premlall said the best way for consumers to avoid buying counterfeit automotive parts is to only buy components from accredited outlets.
“This gives them peace of mind that any component parts purchased or used, carry a traceable identity from a reputable manufacturer of the parts. It also provides them most importantly with recourse, in the event there is any problem,” he said.
“If the seller can provide traceability and integrity of the parts, the consumer is at far less risk.”