New forum to combat illicit rubber
Giving dodgy tyres the boot
Following the 2023 launch of the Blow the Whistle Compliance Forum aimed at stamping out the trade in illegal automotive parts in SA, industry associations in the local and import sectors have joined together to form the Tyre Silo Forum.
Spearheaded by Vishal Premlall, national director of the Tyre, Equipment, Parts Association (Tepa); association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI); the forum comprises the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF), the South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference (SATMC) representing the four local tyre manufacturers in the country and the Tyre Importers Association of South Africa (Tiasa).
“This is an issue that impacts all South Africans as well as all industry players in the import, manufacturing and retail space. The coming together of these four powerful associations will definitely create further impetus to our drive,” said Premlall.
Efforts are designed to protect the consumer as well as the impact on the economy and business sustainability. The forum said significant revenues were being lost as a result of certain importers and traders at the bottom end of the supply chain who are bringing in parts of poor quality through compromised channels.
According to the organisation, these parts were deemed not fit for purpose and do not adhere to local regulatory standards.
Nduduzo Chala, managing executive of SATMC, said the forum will complement and align with the work SATMC is doing behind the scenes with law enforcement agencies to identify and investigate cases of illicit tyre trade.
“We need to protect our industry and the livelihood this industry supports,” he said. “The longer we allow illicit products to enter through our borders, the more we are going to see retrenchments happening in the sector and businesses closing down, not to mention the safety impact on the average motorist.”
Dr Juanita Maree, CEO of SAAFF, said the organisation was working proactively with SARS and other government agencies offering shared insights in respect of international best practices to enhance the facilitation of legitimate trade and remove illicit activities from the trading environment.
“While we may differ in thinking around the likelihood, impact and severity of the risk. There is a need for an alignment in respect of the methodology to support the complete and collaborative eradication of illicit trade in the tyre industry,” she said.
Charl de Villiers, chairman of Tiasa, said this is not something that can be tackled alone.
“We expect the current depressed economic climate will continue to impact consumer choice and we also anticipate unscrupulous traders will increasingly look for loopholes to take advantage of the current challenges being experienced at our ports."
According to Premlall, illicit tyres were no longer just an importer or local manufacturer issue, it is an issue that was negatively affecting the sector and the economy at large.
He anticipated working closely with the department of trade, industry & competition and the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications as well as SARS to close any loopholes in the current SARS and International Trade Administration Commission laws and regulations.
“We also want to remind consumers to stand up and report any illicit trade through our Whistleblower hotline so the necessary role players can step in. This can be found on the Tepa website.”
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