Pretoria: Government has welcomed the decision of court to dismiss with costs the application brought by the South African Tyre Recycling Process Company NPC (SATRP) and Bridgestone South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa and the Director-General of Environmental Affairs Nosipho Ngcaba said they welcomed the judgement which was delivered on Monday in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
The matter had been heard on 11 September.
SATRP and Bridgestone had served an urgent application on the minister and the DG in which they sought an urgent interdict and a declaratory order to the effect that they should not be compelled to subscribe to the Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa’s (REDISA) Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan (IIWTMP) pending the minister’s approval or otherwise of the IIWTMP submitted by SATRP.
The REDISA plan was recently approved by the minister and published in the Government Gazette on 23 July for immediate implementation.
According to the department, in terms of the regulations, a tyre producer has to comply with the IIWTMP immediately on receiving the minister’s approval, or comply within 60 days with an existing integrated industry waste tyre management plan approved by the minister (in 60 days after 23 July being before or on 21 September 2012).
Acting High Court Judge, PC Van Der Byl ruled that SATRP had failed to prepare and submit an IIWTMP within the 60-day period. After the rejection of its plan on 15 November 2011 SATRP re-submitted its amended IIWTMP almost eight months later and seven days after publication of the REDISA plan.
“The Judge ruled that SATRP subscribers were therefore left with no option but to register with the approved integrated industry waste tyre management plan of the third respondent (Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa NPC – REDISA),” said the department.
It said that the Acting Judge indicated that he was of the view that the interpretation to be assigned to the regulations is that any tyre producer that has no integrated industry waste tyre management plan approved by the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs or does not belong to an existing integrated waste tyre management plan, will as from 21 September not be entitled to manufacture, import new, part worn, retreadable casings or vehicles fitted with tyres or, distribute or sell new, part worn or retreaded tyres and will be subject to sanctions provided in the regulations and other applicable legislative provisions.
“The Acting Judge also stated that he failed to see how any of SATRP subscribers would be prejudiced if they were required to register and comply with the REDISA plan, even if they wish to do so with SATRP plan if and when it is approved since they are free to deregister with no financial implications, within 120 days notice as provided in Regulation 6(6),” said the department.
Departmental spokesperson Albi Modise said the judgement should send a very strong message to the industry that court processes cannot be abused to avoid compliance with environmental legislation.
“The department will ensure speedy implementation of the approved REDISA plan so that we make progress in dealing with waste tyres in this country.
“Over and above the obvious objective of managing waste tyres in a manner that minimises their negative impacts on the environment and human well-being, the REDISA Plan is centred around; amongst others, job creation, the need to include and empower the existing informal sector as well as sustainability.
These are key aspects necessary to meet the transformative social-economic objectives of the country,” he said.