Roy Cokayne

The Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) is to seek an urgent high court interdict to prevent the government implementing the controversial Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of SA’s (Redisa) waste tyre management plan.

It will also apply for an order reviewing and setting aside the approval of the Redisa plan by Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

In a separate court action, the SA Tyre Recycling Process Company (SATRP) and Bridgestone South Africa, will apply to the North Gauteng High Court for an urgent order interdicting Molewa, director-general Nosipho Ngcaba and Redisa from threatening any tyre producer, who has subscribed to or intends subscribing to SATRP’s waste tyre management plan, with prosecution or sanction for failing to comply with Redisa’s plan.

These sanctions include interfering with or seeking the withdrawal of import permits applied for or issued to any tyre producer.

Tyre producers supporting the SATRP plan would need to spend millions to ensure systems complied with the Redisa plan and it would be a disincentive for tyre producers to join the SATRP plan later because of the costs incurred.

The SATRP is also seeking an order that, pending the approval of its plan, it was not obligatory for tyre producers who had subscribed to or intended subscribing to its plan to comply with Redisa’s plan.

Albi Modise, a department spokesman, said yesterday Molewa and Ngcaba would be opposing the SATRP application but had not yet received the RMI’s application.

Attempts to obtain comment from Redisa chief executive Hermann Erdmann were unsuccessful.

The Redisa plan was gazetted on July 23 for immediate implementation. It is to date the only integrated waste tyre management plan approved by Molewa, with the SATRP and RMI plans awaiting approval.

September 21 is the deadline for tyre producers to join an approved waste tyre plan.

Riaan van Niekerk, the chairman of the SATRP board, said tyre manufacturers and importers accounting for 84 percent of the tyre market subscribed to the SATRP plan.

Van Niekerk said Michelin was the only tyre producer that had subscribed to the Redisa plan, with the RMI’s plan accounting for tyres entering the country through vehicle imports. He said SATRP subscribers did not want to pay levies to a plan to which they did not belong, but to the SATRP plan when it came into effect.

The latest legal challenges to the Redisa plan follows the department in January withdrawing its approval of the Redisa plan when the SATRP lodged an application in the South Gauteng High Court to interdict Molewa and Redisa from implementing it, and to order Molewa to provide the SATRP with a timeframe for the resubmission of its plan.

Jeff Osborne, the RMI’s chief executive, claimed earlier this year the Redisa plan was “hijacked” from the RMI and one of its constituent associations, the Tyre Dealers’ and Fitment Association by Erdmann, a former chairman.

Erdmann denied this, but had undertaken to repay the association for a disputed amount spent on the plan.