The South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference (SATMC) notes that deeper conversations pertaining to legislation, education and safety processes are necessary to ensure that the industry advances the safety of motorists.
This is the motivation behind the SATMC’s collaboration with other industry stakeholders such as government and the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) in addressing tyre manufacturing industry processes, from production to unquestionable quality assurance supported by proficient regulatory methodologies.
SATMC managing executive Nobuzwe Mangcu points out that among the reasons for the collaboration is the continued expansion of South Africa’s tyre manufacturing industry. Last year, 11-million tyres were sold locally accounting for 61% in domestic sales. Two-million tyres where exported from South Africa, while a total of five-million tyres were imported.
The SATMC notes that these figures corroborate the necessity of implementing such quality assurance processes, which will only result from intensive collaboration in the implementation of investment that responds to greater policy and regulatory harmonisation.
The SATMC explains that this vision has led to its commitment to form partnerships with the Tyre Importers Association to collectively address and engage technical regulatory institutions, such as the NRCS, the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), the South African National Accreditation System, the International Trade and Administration Commission of South Africa and the South African Revenue Service.
Mangcu stresses that proactive engagement with regulatory institutions has led to a sense of optimism about shaping a network of qualified custodians.
South Africa’s local tyre manufacturing industry has over the past four years been galvanised by a R4-billion collective investment injection towards enhancing tyre production facilities, she explains.
Mangcu says this has culminated in significant strides by manufacturers in remodelling production processes to not only improve capacity, but also adhere to stringent safety requirements.
“A tangible manifestation of these investments is integrated trading company Sumitomo’s truck and bus tyre production facility, which will have the sufficiency to meet the growing demand for truck and bus tyres as of 2018,” she says.
Additionally, multinational auto and truck parts manufacturer Bridgestone recently began a process of investing R700-million over a period of five years into upgrading and expanding its production facility in Brits, in the North West.
Meanwhile, automotive parts manufacturing company Continental Tyres constructed a R65-million boiler renewal project, which commenced in 2012 and was completed in 2014, epitomising the manufacturer’s drive towards sustainable energy.
Other significant examples of investments include upgrades to multinational tyre manufacturer Goodyear’s facility with a stronger focus on passenger car tyres.
The upshot of these investments is enhanced ability to supply original-equipment manufacturers.
The South African tyre manufacturing industry faces global competition from approximately 200 importers of tyres of various brands, with about half shipped in from the Far East.
One implication of this has been the under invoicing of such tyres, owing to formula duty implementation. Further challenges have included the sale of unsafe second-hand tyres to the public and the unregulated importation of such tyres.
“However, if we are going to attain veracious custodianship of our tyre manufacturing industry, then the complete on-boarding of relevant partners is required through cogent support in key messaging and testing techniques,” says Mangcu.
The establishment of an independent tyre testing facility remains a pivotal resource for the industry and ensuring that South Africa solidifies its position globally. She states that this must form the basis of a safety-focused industry.
The SATMC asserts that the collaboration requires the full participation of the NRCS, the SABS and government entities such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). “The complete integration and streamlining of standard regulations represents the value of safety standards for both South Africa’s market and international markets as well,” Mangcu says.
Prioritising the conformance of all pneumatic tyres for use on passenger and commercial vehicles and trailers manufactured by SATMC members to compulsory safety standards introduced by the DTI remains paramount and is a key objective of the SATMC.
The SATMC also says that it continues to value the collaboration of industry players in speaking to government about addressing issues faced by tyre importers, such as applying tariff amendments on tyre dealer associates.
The SATMC is aware of the implementation challenges that have stifled the NRCS-administered homologation process but continues to believe that its foundations are important in ensuring that products that leave and enter South Africa accord with stringent standards.
“In the endeavour to be custodians of safety within the industry, we have continued to welcome and support the processes administered by the NRCS for the homologation of tyres manufactured in South Africa,” concludes Mangcu.