Illegal tyre imports are rising in South Africa, posing a risk to road users and jobs in the local industry, the SA Tyre Manufacturing Conference (SATMC) warned on Wednesday.
SATMC chairperson Lubin Ozoux raised the issue during a media briefing to highlight the challenges facing the local manufacturing and retail tyre industries, such as illegal dumping, illegal second-hand imports, and the dangers of waste tyres. SATMC represents the four tyre manufacturers in the country, Continental Tyre South Africa, Goodyear South Africa, Bridgestone SA, and Sumitomo Tyres.
“The SATMC is working with law enforcement agencies to identify and investigate cases of illicit tyre trade, and we are advocating for stronger measures to prevent this trade from happening in the first place. There are rising incidents of misdeclaration of tyre consignments and rerouting of imports through neighbouring countries to avoid tyre duties, environment levies and permits,” Ozoux said.
This illicit tyre trade had far-reaching impacts on the industry, as well as the safety of drivers and passengers on the road, he added.
“The production, import, export, purchase, sale, or possession of tyres that fail to comply with the domestic legislation of South Africa must be taken seriously and stamped out. While this issue has been a persistent problem for several years, the increase in recent times could be attributed to the rise in illegal trade activities globally as globalisation and ecommerce continue apace.”
He said the SATMC had several solutions, including increased collaboration with law enforcement agencies to enforce regulations, and increased public awareness through targeted campaigns.
“We are working closely with relevant government agencies, such as Sars and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition. We have also endeavoured to collaborate with the Tyre Importers Association of South Africa and the Tyre Equipment Parts Association to detect non-compliant behaviour and ensure consequences for those found to have resorted to this illegal and criminal behaviour,” Ozoux said.
“Illicit trade must be stopped, as this will create a safe and fair market for South Africans, helping to keep millions of lives safer on the roads, and protecting local jobs.”