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Tyre plan turns corner as minister gives green light

Roy Cokayne

THE REGULATION and management of waste tyres took a new turn on Friday, when Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa approved and regazetted the Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (Redisa) plan for implementation with immediate effect.

The regazetted version of the Redisa plan differs from the plan previously approved in that it does not contain any waste tyre reduction targets.

This follows the temporary interdict granted by the North Gauteng High Court to the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) last month halting the implementation of the plan.

Judge Neil Tuchten said the approved version of the Redisa plan contained waste reduction targets that had been entirely omitted from the version published for public comment.

Judge Tuchten said Molewa must at the very least, in terms of the Waste Act, the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act and the Constitution, follow a notice and comment procedure in relation to each material provision of draft industry waste management plans submitted to her for approval.

If Molewa accepted that the attempt to implement the Redisa plan as approved and published on July 23 was invalid on the grounds advanced by the RMI, Judge Tuchten said, she could then legitimately withdraw her approval of the plan as approved and published on that date. The judge said Molewa could then apply her mind to the version of the plan minus the targets that was published for comment with a view “to acting in relation to that version of the plan”.

Redisa chief executive Hermann Erdmann said on Friday that the organisation was pleased Molewa had taken such prompt action to resolve the chaos that the suspension of the plan was causing in the tyre industry.

“A review application takes months to complete and for all that time the industry would have had to provisionally set aside funds to pay the fee if the review court found in favour of the minister, and deal with refund claims if it found against her. By regazetting the plan, the minister is following the resolution proposed in the judgment and bringing sanity back into the tyre market.”

Vishal Premlall, the national director of the Tyre Dealers and Fitment Association, an RMI member, said he was unable to comment about the regazetting of the Redisa plan because it was still being studied by the association’s legal advisers.

The RMI’s main application for an order reviewing and setting aside the approval of the Redisa plan by Molewa is only likely to be heard next year. The delay in implementing the plan is potentially a threat to its survival because it would not have been eligible to obtain levies from tyre manufacturers and importers that become due from next month.

The North Gauteng High Court heard claims that Redisa was R33 million in debt, paying R300 000 a month in rental for its offices and had spent R8m on office fittings.

Erdmann told Business Report last month that these figures were inaccurate.

He said Redisa was paying R15 000 a month in rental, the cost for office fitting was still unknown and R38m had been invested in designing the computer system, various consultants and legal fees.

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