The wheel deal: initiative aims to champion tyre safety
31 October 2018 | Web Article Number:
As Transport Month in October draws to a close, Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (SRSA), manufacturer of the popular Dunlop, Sumitomo and Falken tyre brands, has taken up the mantle as continental custodian and steward of Part Worn Africa, a new pan-African consumer, tyre and road safety advocacy initiative.
Announced on Monday by professional African public policy, regulatory and government relations advisory firm, ETHICORE, Part Worn Africa is dedicated to improving and promoting consumer protection, product safety, responsible trade and environmental management of part-worn and second-hand passenger tyres.
In 2017, SRSA embarked on the Safety project – an initiative that is very close to the heart of CEO, Riaz Haffejee, who believes that the safety of SRSA’s customers is pivotal to the company’s success as a business.
With this is mind, the #SaferthanSafe concept was born, and is a vehicle that SRSA is using to lobby its strong concerns about safe tyres, and particularly that of part-worn and second-hand tyres in the South African and African markets.
Often this is a more cost-effective alternative to purchasing brand new tyres, especially for cash-strapped motor owners. However, what one may regard as a financial advantage, could cost them on the road.
Haffejee, said: “The use of second-hand tyres, where the buyer has no knowledge of the tyre’s age or repair history – together with the illegal and highly dangerous practice of ‘re-grooving’ tyres to create greater tread depth – are a significant cause for concern within South Africa’s informal tyre sector.
“As an African corporate citizen, consumer and tyre safety, included in the tyre manufacturing process, is part of SRSA’s DNA and culture. We recognise the causes and consequences of unsafe and unregulated part-worn and second-hand tyres - firstly, for consumers and road users, and secondly, for SRSA as a regulatory compliant tyre manufacturer. Our custodianship and support of Part Worn Africa seeks to advance our already well-established manufacturing, product and consumer safety initiatives such as our ‘SaferthanSafe’ campaign.”
Haffejee said that tackling the scourge of unregulated part-worn and second-hand passenger tyres was an industry imperative.
“Township and rural area tyre trading and fitment have in many cases been plagued by second-hand tyres and re-grooved tyres which result in road fatalities. SRSA has piloted and pioneered innovative and sustainable models for formalising informal tyre trade in South African townships, in a safe and compliant manner, while creating employment opportunities and driving entrepreneurship with safety at the core of the programme,” he said.
SRSA’s Dunlop Container Programme, for example, is centred around transforming township containers into Dunlop branded tyre fitment centres and providing opportunities for unemployed youth and women to be trained and mentored in tyre sales and repair. Today, the SRSA container initiative has grown exponentially to 120 containers nationally and SRSA continues to create awareness and education around this critical topic.
Commenting on the formation of Part Worn Africa, ETHICORE CEO Abdul Waheed Patel said: “Part Worn Africa is set to fulfil a critical gap in working with key stakeholders to address the policy, legislative and regulatory deficits governing the proliferation of unsafe, ill-suited and illicit part-worn and second-tyres sold and fitted for use on public roads in Africa.”