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PORT EL­IZ­A­BETH — The best tech­ni­cian in the coun­try was an­nounced amid loud ap­plause last Fri­day dur­ing the an­nual Gen­eral Mo­tors South Africa (GMSA) Top Tech­ni­cian Skills Awards.

Goven­der Dhar­ma­lingum (52) of South Coast Mo­tors in Amamz­im­toti scooped the first prize af­ter show­ing his tech­ni­cal prow­ess and prob­lem solv­ing skills dur­ing four gru­elling rounds of the com­pe­ti­tion.

The run­ners up were Ste­fan de Wet (28) of Reeds N1 City, Cape Town and Quintin Ver­meulen (33) of Wil­liams Hunt Pre­to­ria, who claimed sec­ond and third place re­spec­tively.

The win­ners walked off with gift vouch­ers to the value of R15 000, R10 000 and R7 500.

Dhar­ma­lingum also won a week­end get­away for two at a South African des­ti­na­tion.

“Win­ning the com­pe­ti­tion was a dream come true for me, but be­ing recog­nised by the dealer net­work for your skills and abil­i­ties is a huge hon­our,” said an ec­static Dhar­ma­lingum.

He said the com­pe­ti­tion was tough, but he kept his cool and ap­plied his knowl­edge to solve the prob­lems ac­cu­rately and ef­fi­ciently.

Hav­ing landed a spot in the top three of the com­pe­ti­tion last year, Dhar­ma­lingum was de­ter­mined to claim the ti­tle this time around.

Dhar­ma­lingum, who has been work­ing for South Coast Mo­tors for the past 22 years, said he be­lieves the Chevro­let, Opel and Isuzu cus­tomer is ev­ery­thing.

“I be­lieve that the cus­tomer is al­ways right. When I go to work ev­ery day I strive to give our cus­tomers my best to make sure that they are happy and sat­is­fied with their ve­hi­cles.”

GMSA de­vel­op­ment and train­ing man­ager Dr Alf Ben­nett said the com­pe­ti­tion was fierce and as in 2014, less than three per­cent sep­a­rated the top three po­si­tions.

“We would like to con­grat­u­late the win­ner and the run­ner­sup on a job well done. We look for­ward to host­ing the com­pe­ti­tion once more in 2016,” he said.

A joint ini­tia­tive of the Ser­vice Di­vi­sion of GMSA and the Na­tional Dealer Coun­cil, the com­pe­ti­tion aims to pro­mote ex­cel­lence in cus­tomer ser­vice, tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise, and sup­port GMSA’s tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions in ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ing.

Brian Ol­son, GMSA vice pres­i­dent of ve­hi­cle sales, ser­vice and mar­ket­ing, said the com­pany is re­in­forc­ing its com­mit­ment to con­tin­u­ously im­prove ser­vice lev­els at its dealer net­work in South Africa.

“All Chevro­let Opel and Isuzu ser­vice cen­tres are equipped with a com­plete range of equip­ment and an­a­lyt­i­cal sys­tems to carry out main­te­nance and re­pairs,” said Ol­son.

In ad­di­tion, GMSA pro­vides ap­prox­i­mately 40 000 hours per an­num of reg­u­lar and ex­ten­sive train­ing for all ser­vice per­son­nel.

Ol­son said this com­pe­ti­tion com­ple­ments the re­cently launched Com­plete Care pro­gramme to all Chevro­let, Opel and Isuzu cus­tomers.

“Com­plete Care demon­strates our com­mit­ment to be­ing a leader in cus­tomer care, ser­vice and sat­is­fac­tion through one of the most thor­ough ser­vice pack­ages avail­able any­where.

“Our ul­ti­mate ob­jec­tive is to drive GM au­tho­rised ser­vice cen­tres to de­liver ‘man­u­fac­tur­ing stan­dard’ ser­vice and to en­sure trans­parency in our ser­vice pro­ce­dures.”

Across its 134 deal­er­ships coun­try­wide, 300 tech­ni­cians en­tered this year’s chal­lenge. The fi­nal rounds of the com­pe­ti­tion took place in Port El­iz­a­beth and was based on three GM prod­ucts — the Isuzu KB, the Chevro­let Cruze and the Opel As­tra.

The fi­nal­ists were re­quired to di­ag­nose and fix prob­lems within a spec­i­fied time pe­riod. Prac­ti­cal ex­er­cises were scored by trained observers.

The five fi­nal­ists who bat­tled it out in the fi­nal round were Dhar­ma­lingum, De Wet, Ver­meulen, Jaun Smit (Simp­son’s Pha­l­aborwa) and Seun Ven­ter (Tommy Martin).


Win­ner Goven­der Dhar­ma­lingum with run­ners up Ste­fan de Wet (left), who came sec­ond, and Quintin Ver­meulen, who bagged third place.

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