Tyrexpo Africa takes place in Johannesburg on the 10-12th of April 2018. The tyre industry show is the largest of its kind in the whole of Africa, a continent that is only slowly coming to terms with modernisation, industrialisation and more recently waste management.
South Africa took a unique approach to end-of-life tyre management, removing the manufacturers from the loop by handing the overall management of ELT to REDISA, the Recycling and Economical Development Initiative for South Africa. The aim of REDISA was much greater than tyres alone, ultimately the organization had the aim of managing all South Africa’s waste resources.
The plan was that manufacturers and importers of tyres would pay a recycling tax on every kilo of rubber that they imported or produced, which created a huge fund that was to be used to fund the creation of a recycling chain that benefited everyone from the collector through to the processor and manufacturer of new materials.
The creation of REDISA upset the tyre manufacturers and retailers in South Africa, and from before its establishment, the organisation faced legal barriers and litigation. However, in the end, it was argued by opponents that REDISA was a milk cow for a few, nothing more than a money-making scheme for a small group of players. It is alleged that millions of Rand of the company funds simply vanished. Ultimately, REDISA was wound up on the 1st of June 2017.
As of January 2018, there has been no replacement, and actions against the directors have meant that the South African media have been holding fire on commenting.
So, what is the state of play in South Africa today? Tyres still need to be recycled.
Essentially, the market in South Africa has returned to a free market and there is little organisation managing tyres, those who need them get them, and those tyres without a market are not managed well at all.
However, in Kwaa Zulu Natal, the Mathe Group is growing its tyre recycling business, clearing its 100,000th tyre last September, much of its rubber production at Hammarsdale going to flooring manufacturing firm Van Dyke. Mathe also supplies crumb to the sports surfaces sector in South Africa. Capacity is expected to reach 150,000 tyres in the company’s second year of operation in this sector.
The players in the tyre sector in South Africa are sanguine about the outcome of the demise of REDISA, after all, they protested against the body from its conception through to its final liquidation.
Nobuzwe Mangcu, the Managing Executive of the South African Tyre Manufacturing Conference (SATMC) stated in a conversation with Roy Cockayne of IOL Business report, “We now have to move forward and SATMC believes the liquidation of REDISA will be for the benefit of the industry in the long term. As long as the future management of waste tyres in South Africa is managed in a transparent way with accountability.”
Jakkie Olivier, Chief Executive of The Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) which includes the Tyre Dealers and Fitment Centre Association (TDAFA) comments, “So far the liquidation of REDISA has not had any negative impact on waste tyre collections but the general feeling is that problems still exist at some tyre depots on how to dispose of waste tyres.”