South Africans will have to dig even deeper into their pockets for new car tyres following the introduction of provisional higher excise duties on tyres imported to South Africa from China.
The Automobile Association (AA) is worried this will make South Africa’s roads less safe.
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Earlier this month government announced the addition of a 38.33% excise duty to tyres imported from China.
This is on top of existing excise duties of between 25% and 30%, while tyres sold locally will now have an excise loading of between 63.33% and 68.33%.
Increase in excise
The increase in excise duties comes after the South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference (SATMC) argued to the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) that tyres were being imported to South Africa at “unfairly low prices”.
This, SATMC said, is damaging the local tyre manufacturing industry.
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However, the Tyre Importers Association of South Africa (TIASA) said even local manufacturers import up to 80% of the variety of tyre models they sell anyway and has questioned the rationale behind the increased taxation.
The AA has now said that this tyre price hike is a major blow to road safety in the country and should be reversed immediately.
“Increased fuel prices have seen food prices climb and resulted in higher private and public transport costs. Those with private transport will now have to pay more for tyres – essential safety equipment on vehicles – something we don’t believe will happen.”
“Public transport providers such as buses and taxis will either not pay the new prices or merely pass the increases to their passengers. Both options are unacceptable,” said the AA.
Public transport users at risk
“Operators not wanting to spend the extra money on new tyres will continue to drive with poor condition tyres, or use inferior ‘refurbished’ tyres, putting the lives of their passengers and other road users at risk. The increased prices of tyres are, simply put, going to create major road safety problems in future.”
The AA said it supports calls for the extra excise duties to be reversed.
“Government should immediately reverse the introduction of the additional excise duties, and find a better, more long-lasting solution to the problem in the tyre sector that doesn’t impact negatively on consumers.”
According to official statistics from the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), 12 541 people died on the country’s roads in 2021.
“Human error, environmental conditions (e.g., poor visibility, sharp bends, wet/slippery surfaces, and stray/wild animals), and vehicle factors such as bursting or smooth tyres, poor brakes, and faulty headlights contributed to these deaths.”
“Bursting and smooth tyres contributed to 49% of deaths in this category, by far the biggest element in terms of vehicle factors causing road deaths,” according to the RTMC.
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