A new era of excellence for the 2024 SAGMJ COTY jury

Embarking on another exciting chapter of the South African Car of the Year (COTY) competition, the 2024 COTY Committee announced its jury for the 38th annual competition. The jury for this year's competition includes seasoned professionals maintaining the prestigious legacy and vibrant newcomers injecting fresh enthusiasm.

"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 South African Guild of Mobility Journalists (SAGMJ).

Some time ago, the SAGMJ started recruiting a broader range of journalists. As the automotive landscape evolves, a younger generation of journalists has emerged, catering to customers who predominantly consume news online and prefer online transactions. This aligns with manufacturers' strategies to stay current and reach a wider audience.

"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."

In an exciting development, Old Mutual Insure (OMI), the title sponsor of the COTY competition, announced the sponsorship of official juror training through its newly established OMI COTY Academy. 

The OMI COTY Academy will refresh jurors' knowledge and skills, bringing new members up to speed on the COTY scoring system for consistent and reliable data. Industry stalwart Graham Eagle, who oversees the COTY scoring process, will conduct the training for this year's competition. The OMI COTY Academy also emphasises road safety, aligning with OMI's vision of safer roads. Philip Hull, an industry veteran, will share his wealth of knowledge on road safety with the expert juror group.

"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 SAGMJ members played a pivotal role in electing jurors, both seasoned members and trainees, through a dedicated voting platform. The selection process is a fusion of peer voting and meticulous hand-picking by the COTY Committee, ensuring a robust and diverse representation. 

The COTY Committee, consisting of Mabuyane Mabuza (Chairperson), Lerato Matebese, Thami Masemola, Jason Woosey and Brenwin Naidu, has crafted a powerful and diverse jury for this year's competition. Below is the juror list for the 2024 COTY competition (in alphabetical order):


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

"The 2024 COTY Committee has recruited several respected journalists to join the jury. This is one of the strongest and most diverse COTY juries ever assembled for the competition. Now the real work starts," says Mabuza.

Mabuza adds that 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 like hybrid and electric vehicles, customers face many choices, making our responsibility of awarding the best vehicles in South Africa more significant than ever."

"We sincerely congratulate the 2024 COTY jury, whose journalistic excellence will undoubtedly elevate the competition to new heights. Their combined experience has been instrumental in raising automotive benchmarks, aligning with the values of quality and innovation that benefit our customers," adds Napier.

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.

"We look forward to an exhilarating journey with this stellar jury, exploring the best in the automotive world and setting new standards of excellence. Stay tuned for an extraordinary journey as we navigate the realm of automotive excellence with the 2024 COTY jury," concludes Mabuza.