South Africa: Department of Environmental Affairs Announces the Resumption of REDISA Plan Implementation

press release

The approval of the REDISA Integrated Waste Tyre Management Plan (IIWTMP) which was published on the 23 July 2012 has been withdrawn (Government Gazette 35926, Government Notice No. 987), and another IIWTMP (Government Notice No. 988, Government Gazette No. 35927) published for immediate implementation on the 30 November 2012. This means that the REDISA Plan as published on 30 November 2012 must be implemented with immediate effect.

It is important to note that in terms of Regulation 6(3)(c), everyone registered with REDISA will have to comply with the approved IIWTMP with immediate effect. Those who are not registered with REDISA have 60 days from the date of approval to register and comply with the REDISA IIWTMP approved on the 30 November 2012. This means that those that are currently not registered with REDISA have until the 30 January 2013 to register. The sector should not be confused by messages being put out in the public to the contrary.

The Department of Environmental Affairs is clarifying this matter in order to ensure that the sector is not misled by advice that no one has to comply with the Tyre Regulations until 29 January 2013. The Waste Tyre Regulations came into effect on the 30 June 2009 and whether there is an approved IIWTMP or not, the Waste Tyre Regulations remain in effect and non-compliance to such is an offence.

Recently there were two court applications against REDISA and the Minister of Environmental Affairs. The first application from the South African Tyre Recycling Process Company (SATRP) sought to encourage the SATRP subscribers not to register and comply with the REDISA IIWTMP as prescribed by the Waste Tyre Regulations (2009). This case was dismissed with costs. Their subsequent application for leave to appeal was also unsuccessful.

In addition to the SATRP court application, the Retail Motor Industry (RMI) also launched an application with the North Gauteng High Court, seeking to interdict the implementation of the REDISA IIWTMP pending a review process. The implementation of the REDISA IIWTMP was indeed momentarily halted by the North Gauteng High Court in the judgment delivered by Judge Tuchten on the 20 November 2012. The Judge granted RMI's request for an interdict pending the review application set out in part B of RMI's notice of motion. This meant that both REDISA and the Department of Environmental Affairs were interdicted and restrained from proceeding with the implementation of the plan until the review was determined.

The judgement was in favour of the Department and REDISA on all material aspects, apart from where the judge found that paragraph 15.1 of the IIWTMP, which was not in the IIWTMP published for comment, constituted a material amendment of the plan and as such the IIWTMP should have been re-gazetted for comment after its insertion. The judge suggested a remedy: to re-gazette the plan without paragraph 15.1 for immediate implementation. The Minister has reconsidered the matter in totality and decided to withdraw the approval of the said IIWTMP and another IIWTMP was approved, as set out above. This effectively disposed of the review application mentioned above as the plan, which was the subject of the review, was no longer relevant.

The implementation of an IIWTMP that will ensure that waste tyres are managed in a responsible way that will ensure minimal impact on the health of our people and the environment, while also contributing towards job creation, remains a key priority for this department. We call on the sector to join hands with government in this regard to ensure that we achieve this objective.

The interdict has caused considerable confusion and instability in the sector. However, we now can all readjust and continue with implementation. Currently the REDISA IIWTMP is the only approved plan available and hence;

All tyre producers registered with REDISA must immediately comply with the approved REDISA IIWTMP in terms of the Regulation 6(3) of the Waste Tyre Regulations (2009).

All tyre producers not registered with REDISA must ensure compliance with the REDISA IIWTMP within 60 days (i.e. by the 30 January 2013).

Waste tyres are one of the most problematic waste streams to be dealt with. Their disposal to landfill sites is not desirable. Furthermore the uncontrolled burning of waste tyres is a health hazard to people, especially the elderly and children, and it also causes environmental degradation. For this reason the tyre sector is the very first sector in the country to be requested to develop an industry waste management plan (IWMP).

The idea of an IWMP is based on the concept of co-regulation. This is where government invites industry to come on board and recommend mechanisms of regulating itself. These types of partnerships between government and industry are what we believe will take this country forward.

The Department is pleased to be back on track with this much-needed plan and we hope that all stakeholders can now focus on implementing the approved REDISA IIWTMP to ensure that we achieve the objects of the Constitution in protecting both the environment and our people's wellbeing while also ensuring that we provide meaningful job opportunities to our communities.

At this late stage the Minister has been served on 12 December 2012 with another urgent RMI application that was lodged at the North Gauteng High Court which seeks to review and set aside her decision to withdraw the approval of the previous plan and the publication of the current plan. Although this matter is subjudice, it is with concern conveyed that the bona fide approach to implement an Integrated Waste Tyre Management Plan that is to the benefit of the environment and the people of this country does not find favour with some role players in this sector.

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