Based on the stellar listing of nominated semi-finalists for the upcoming 38th running of the South African Car of the Year (COTY) competition, the Jury will have its work cut out to determine a worthy winner with the 28 members of the Jury panel covering all spheres of motoring reporting from newspapers through magazines, blogs to television.

Importantly, as several of the panel are ‘newbies’ the SA Guild of Mobility Journalists (SAGMJ), the owners of the competition, and sponsors Old Mutual Insure (OMI) have established the OMI COTY Academy where a full prospectus of training will be provided to Jury members.

Part of the course will include an emphasis on road safety – presented by veteran road warrior, Phillip Hull.

Mabuyane Mabuza during the 2023 test days

"This year's jury promises unparalleled expertise and energy. In a nod to continuity and excellence, a substantial portion of last year's jury, known for their dedication and credibility, remains intact," says Mabuyane Mabuza, chairperson of the 2023 and 2024 COTY Committee and vice-chairperson of the SAGMJ.

"Adding to this dynamic mix, we welcome the new jurors selected to join the esteemed ranks of COTY judges. Their passion and excitement infuse a renewed spirit into our already elite group of jurors, ensuring a diverse and forward-thinking panel."

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"This partnership not only enhances the skills of our jurors but also integrates a crucial focus on road safety, underlining our commitment to playing our part in ensuring safer roads," says Garth Napier, managing director of OMI. "Renewing our sponsorship for a second year, we aim to enhance the competition and industry." 

The Jury in action in 2023


Azim Omar, Alan Rosenmeyer, Bernard Hellberg Jr, Brenwin Naidu, Carl Wepener, Colin Windell, Damian Adams, Fanelesibonge Bengu, Francisco Nwamba, Gugu Masuku, Ian McLaren, Janine van der Post, Jason Woosey, Jeanette Kok-Kritzinger, Kumbi Mtshakazi, Lawrence Smith, Lerato Matebese, Mabuyane Mabuza, Marnus Hattingh, Melinda Ferguson, Nafisa Akabor, Riyad Jaffer, Sean Nurse, Sibonelo Myeni, Sisanda Mbete, Thamsanqa Masemola, Vann van Staden, Ziphorah Masethe  

Reserve Juror:

Jason Mayo  

Associate Jurors:

Sheryl Goldstuck, Rebaneilwe Semakane

Mabuza adds acknowledging the fast-paced developments in driver assist features, safety and technology, our mission as mobility journalists remains unwavering—to inform and educate.

"With innovations such as hybrid and electric vehicles, customers face many choices, making our responsibility of awarding the best vehicles in South Africa more significant than ever."

The 2024 COTY semi-finalists were unveiled on 19 December, with finalists to be announced at the end of January 2024. The winners will be revealed in early May.

Colin Windell