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The wheels may fall off, so may the propshaft. Tyres may burst, brake pads disintegrate, steering-wheels come loose, engines fail, and fuel leaks cause sudden fires.

Welcome to the world of car-buying in Africa, Reuben Gisore, technical director of the African Organisation for Standarisation, told an automotive forum in Durban last week. About 80% of the 5-million cars sold annually in Sub-Saharan Africa are second-hand, few come with any ownership history and many are dumped from developed countries...

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