Four tyre manufacturers have stopped payments to the SABS due to what they call “the deterioration in the level of service delivered by the body to the automotive industry”.

Tyre manufacturers have stopped payments to the SA Bureau of Standards (SABS) due to what they call “the deterioration in the level of service delivered by the body to the automotive industry”.

According to , the manufacturers will not pay statutory levies to the SABS until the bureau "demonstrates its ability to deliver service to the industry and consumers".

Etienne Human, the executive director of the SA tyre manufacturers conference, said Bridgestone-Firestone, Continental, Dunlop and Goodyear had paid their levies up to 2001 but were holding back last year’s payments.

A number of motor manufactures approached also said that the quality of the service delivered by the SABS to the automotive industry had deteriorated, the report said.

Human said the levy went to the SABS to cover the cost of testing but the manufacturers had taken the decision to withhold funding because the SABS did not have a testing laboratory for tyres, promises about the creation of an electronic database for the homologation of tyres had not been kept and a system had not been put in place by the SABS to check that imported tyres complied with compulsory specifications.

"They used to use the testing facilities of manufacturers but this was not a satisfactory state of affairs because they were testing imported brands using the facilities of local competitors,” Human was quoted as saying.

"It's also a safety issue. South Africa has to comply with international standards because tyres are exported as well.”

The SABS had not instituted a system that could assist customs in determining whether imported tyres had been homologated or not. The SABS homologation process indicates whether a product, such as tyres or a vehicle, conforms with compulsory specifications.

Kenny Mathiha, the head of corporate and media relations at the SABS, told that SABS chief executive Eugene Julies was unaware of the suspension of the payments of the levy and would only be able to respond once he had "all the facts on the table".

Human said that during the past two years the tyre manufacturers had written letters to Julies and had gone to see Alistair Ruiters, the director-general of the department of trade and industry, but this had not solved the problem.