Curtailing illicit tyre trade will help improve SA’s road safety

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The South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference (SATMC) is actively working to address the issue of illicit trade of tyres in South Africa. This includes, amongst others, the rising incidents of misdeclaration of tyre consignments and rerouting of imports through neighbouring countries in order to avoid tyre duties, environment levies and permits.

The SATMC is the representative body of the four leading global tyre manufacturers with manufacturing facilities established in the country, namely Bridgestone Southern Africa, Continental Tyre South Africa, Goodyear South Africa and Sumitomo Rubber South Africa.

Chairperson, Lubin Ozoux, said illicit tyre trade is a growing concern and has far-reaching impacts on the industry, as well as the safety of drivers and passengers on the road.

“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. We as the SATMC, representing local tyre manufacturers, are particularly concerned about the entry of substandard and counterfeit tyres into the South African market. These tyres often do not meet the required safety standards, are made with inferior materials and are prone to failure, placing millions of lives at risk on our roads,” he said.  

Tyres which are illegally brought into the country pose a serious threat to the safety of South African consumers. While this issue has been a persistent problem for several years, the recent increase could be attributed to the rise in illegal trade activities globally as globalisation and e-commerce continue to expand.

SATMC Managing Executive, Ndu Chala, said the Tyre Importers Association of South Africa (TIASA), in collaboration with the SATMC, has been working closely with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to root out illicit trade in the industry.

“There are currently just over 60 open cases of illicit trading related to the tyre industry that are being investigated by SARS. There is no outcome yet and we await SARS processes to finalise these,” he said.

“This influx is concerning, and we have endeavoured to collaborate with the Tyre Importers Association of South Africa (TIASA), the Tyre Equipment Parts Association (TEPA) and the government through the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) to detect non-compliant behaviour, and ensure consequences for those found to have resorted to this illegal and criminal behaviour,” added Chala.

Ozoux said all role players in the tyre industry including manufacturers, importers, dealers and distributors are aligned and collaborating to tackle the scourge of illicit tyre trade. The SATMC has also introduced a number of solutions, including increased collaboration with law enforcement agencies to enforce regulations, and increased public awareness through targeted campaigns.

“Illicit trade must be stopped, as this will create a safe and fair market for South Africa, helping to keep millions of lives safer on the roads, and protecting local jobs. If reducing the unacceptably high number and cost of road deaths in South Africa is a priority for us all, then we simply cannot continue to allow illegal and often inferior tyres to keep proliferating the local market. Only legitimate and safe tyres should be available to South African consumers,” said Ozoux.