Making a difference

Dr Mehran Zarrebini with the Minister of Water & Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa
IMG_0363 - REDISA Awards (1).jpg

People make the impossible, possible; and when REDISA (Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa Plan) was gazetted, only a handful saw the potential of waste management in the country, while others believed that what REDISA set out to achieve, was unrealistic.

Now, almost two years since the first waste tyres entered the logistics network set up by REDISA, over 1 900 people have brought to life the REDISA Plan, and personally realised the opportunities to be found in waste.

To celebrate the South African’s who have proven that by thinking about waste differently, and welcoming the opportunities created by correctly implemented waste management, REDISA hosted a Recognition Awards Dinner at the Sandton Convention Centre in Joburg. Over 40 individuals were recognised on the evening for their hard work and role in bringing the plan to life.

This is the first time that the awards have been presented by Redisa since it started its quest as an independent body to oversee and facilitate the recycling of the more than 60 million used tyres that have built up in South Africa over the years.

Celebrating people

REDISA CEO, Hermann Erdmann said that the event celebrates and honours the individuals who have been willing to get involved and participate in this uniquely South African solution to one of the world’s biggest problems.

“We began implementation less than two years ago, and exceeding all the yearly set milestones in the Plan would not have been remotely possible were it not for those people who have made the development of this new tyre recycling industry possible.

“The tyre manufacturers, importers, dealers, transporters, depot managers and recyclers are all essential parts of the chain that has resulted in over 1 900 jobs, the creation of 178 SMMEs and 95 499 tonnes of waste tyres collected,” Erdmann said.

Winner’s story

The Mathe Group, winner of the Waste into Worth Award, was accoladed for its contribution towards recycling used tyres that are becoming a major environmental hazard in South Africa. Dr Mehran Zarrebini, head of British investment group PFE International (which is part of a joint venture with the Mathe Group and also owns Van Dyck Carpets), said the Mathe Group had been working with REDISA since September 2014. “REDISA has enabled us to focus on our core strength which is the manufacturing of rubber crumb. Prior to being registered with the organisation, we had to source and collect tyres from various locations in KwaZulu-Natal. This was very costly and we were unable to secure a steady raw material supply. Since we started working with REDISA, this problem has been eliminated and we can concentrate on manufacturing as well as on developing new and existing customers,” he said.

A multi-million rand investment by the joint venture partners has seen the construction of a completely new automated 2 500 square meter factory and a 1 000 square meter warehouse. It will be fitted out with R20 million worth of state-of-the-art equipment which is due to arrive in a month’s time.

The Mathe Group, which was formed by Vusumuzi Mathe in 2010, currently operates from a small factory in New Germany. It began manufacturing small quantities of rubber granulate from used truck tyres in late 2011. Once it had secured a permit to manufacture at full capacity in 2013, it began ramping up production. In 2014, a joint venture was formed between the Mathe Group and PFE International Inc.

The Mathe Group had supplied Van Dyck Carpets with rubber crumb since 2012 for the manufacture of acoustic underlays which are used under floor coverings to minimise noise between different levels in apartment and office blocks.

Win-win situation

“There was synergy from the start since Van Dyck was trying to source rubber crumb locally instead of either importing it or buying it from other provinces. This has really been a win-win situation for both organisations since the Mathe Group was looking at increasing its sales of rubber crumb and Van Dyck Carpets wanted to cement a relationship for its rapidly developing secondary industry,” Dr Zarrebini explained.

Although there has been a steady increase in the production of rubber crumb since the first quarter of 2014, a substantial increase in capacity is expected towards the end of this year as the new plant comes on stream. An increase in the secondary processing side of the business at Van Dyck Carpets will correspond with this.

Dr Zarrebini said the growth of the Mathe Group was a true success story. When the joint venture was formed last year, the company employed 12 people. This has since more than doubled to 29 as the small, original operation is now operating 7 days a week for 24 hours at full capacity.

Skills development

He pointed out that, as recycling of waste tyres for use in secondary products was relatively new in South Africa, it was necessary to develop skills in this area.

“When we relocate to the new premises, we will be able to leverage from the very active skills and development programs taking place in Mathe Group’s sister companies. Both PFE Extrusion and Van Dyck Carpets are active in the development of their employees in areas of adult education training, supervisory skills development and so forth. The idea is to incorporate Mathe Group into the overall group to create uniformity with regard to training across all the subsidiaries,” he concluded.



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