Waste tyres in Johannesburg Hilbrow .Redisa.photo by Simphiwe Mbokazi 21

Another high court showdown over the government’s waste tyre recycling plan is looming between the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) and the Department of Environmental Affairs.

The department was served with another urgent high court application by the RMI on December 12.

Vishal Premlall, the national director of the Tyre Dealers and Fitment Association, an RMI member, said the RMI had lodged the application and requested the matter be heard on January 15.

The department said the application was seeking to review and set aside the decision by Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa to withdraw the approval of the previous Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of SA (Redisa) waste tyre management plan and approve Redisa’s current plan.

This followed the RMI on November 20 being granted a temporary interdict by the North Gauteng High Court halting the implementation of the previous Redisa plan.

The interdict was granted, pending the hearing of the RMI’s main application for an order reviewing and setting aside the approval of the Redisa plan by Molewa.

This application is likely to be heard some time this year.

Molewa on November 30 withdrew the previous Redisa plan and approved and gazetted the current Redisa plan for immediate implementation.

The department said the temporary interdict judgment obtained by the RMI was in favour of the department and Redisa on all material aspects apart from Judge Neil Tuchten finding paragraph 15.1 of the integrated industry waste tyre management plan (IIWTMP) constituted a material amendment of the plan and should have been re-gazetted for comment after its insertion.

This paragraph dealt with the waste reduction targets of the Redisa plan.

The department said Judge Tuchten suggested a remedy: to re-gazette the plan without paragraph 15.1 for immediate implementation.

“The minister has reconsidered the matter in totality and decided to withdraw the approval of the said IIWTMP and another IIWTMP was approved. This effectively disposed of the review application… as the plan, which was the subject of the review, was no longer relevant,” it said.

The RMI said last month that its legal teams were considering the legal position regarding “many questionable aspects surrounding the legitimacy of the withdrawal of the previously approved Redisa plan and the approval of another Redisa plan”.

It said the withdrawal of the approval of the previous plan meant members’ subscriptions to that plan had “no legal consequence” and tyre producers would need to re-subscribe and tyre dealers re-register with the current Redisa plan.

In terms of the waste tyre regulations, all relevant parties were required to comply with the new approved plan within 60 days after November 30, which the RMI calculated as January 29, but the department disagreed.

It said everyone registered with Redisa would have to comply with the approved IIWTMP plan “with immediate effect”.

Douw Breedt of Barnard Incorporated, the RMI’s attorneys, said they believed Molewa had acted irregularly and was not permitted in terms of the waste tyre regulations to withdraw one waste tyre plan and approve another for immediate implementation.