Motorists will have to pay a R2.30/kg levy on new tyres from October, but Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa's gazetting of a revised tyre recycling plan - which includes the levy - is unlikely to end her tussle with the industry.
Members of the industry submitted a competing plan to the department this week, arguing, as they have for months, that SA's waste management regulations allow for more than one plan.
The South African Tyre Recycling Process Company submitted a plan on Monday, 30 July 2012, and was waiting to hear when it would be published for comment, Etienne Human, its CEO, said yesterday.
The cost of tyres ranges from R600 for a small passenger car to R250,000 for a tyre for heavy mining vehicles.
More than 200,000 tons of tyres become waste every year and about 11-million used tyres are dumped illegally or burnt to retrieve the steel wire inside. These figures are expected to increase.
To her embarrassment, Molewa was forced to withdraw the original recycling plan a week after launching it in February. The South African Tyre Recycling Process Company instigated legal action against her on the grounds that the plan had not been properly released for public comment.
Human said it was "up to the legal fraternity" to determine whether vehicle and tyre companies had to sign up to the new plan.
Department of Environmental Affairs spokesman Albi Modise said the new scrap tyre regulations required "all tyre producers operating on the commencement of the promulgation of the regulations to comply with a plan as soon as it is approved by the minister".
Human said the regulations allowed for more than one plan, as did international agreements SA had signed, but Molewa was opposed to a "multiplan approach".
Modise said: "We submit that a multiple-plan approach is fraught with complications, shortcomings, costs and opportunities for fraud. It is inefficient and cannot be fully effective.
"Above all, it is not consonant with primary government objectives of job creation and support of small, medium- and micro-enterprises and broad-based black economic empowerment."
A lack of job creation opportunities was one of the Department of Environmental Affairs' criticisms of the initial South African Tyre Recycling Process Company plan, but Human said this had been rectified in the new plan.
Opportunities for "previously disadvantaged individuals" to benefit had been increased.
Modise said the intention of the plan was to curb the effects of waste tyre stockpiles; the health risks associated with mosquitoes and vermin breeding in them, and the air pollution from the burning of tyres.
"This will extend the life spans of landfill sites, especially in this age when land contestation is high and hence land availability for development of landfill sites is scarce.
"Examples of products that can be derived from recycling tyres include rubber, oil, bricks and tiles," Modise said.
Source: Business Day