- World’s biggest tyremaker shut down
- ‘Town ignored court interdict’
- 800 workers hit by power outage
BRITS, North West Province – Tyre-maker Bridgestone is supporting legal action by the Brits Industrialists’ Association against Madibeng municipality, revealing that its plant had to shut down when its power supply was cut.
The association is claiming that the disconnections were unlawful.
Bridgestone employs more than 800 people and was shut down from midday on Friday (January 13) until January 16 because, the company said, the municipality defied a court interdict preventing it from cutting the factory’s power.
Bridgestone is the world’s largest tyre-maker with more than 180 plants and research facilities in 25 countries. Its South African arm includes two factories, a number of satellite offices, and a network of more than 300 commercial and retail outlets.
Bridgestone SA’s CEO Gavin Young told The Corner last night (Jan 17): “We were one of the applicants in the BIA case in which an interim interdict was successfully obtained in 2014 challenging Madibeng’s electricity tariff increases, pending a court review.
“Until the review is heard, Bridgestone’s electricity tariff is the figure determined by the court in the interdict.”
BRITS TOLD ‘RESTORE POWER NOW’
Young said the power cut put the municipality in violation of the 2014 interdict and added:.
“On January 16 2017 an urgent application for contempt of court was brought by the BIA in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. The judge found in favour of the BIA and issued an order directing the municipality to restore electricity by 6pm that evening.”
Young said Bridgestone had paid all amounts due for its electricity consumption at the tariff set by the court. “This cut-off unlawfully prevented us from conducting our business.
“Madibeng’s unlawful power cuts placed livelihoods in jeopardy and had the potential to harm our standing with Bridgestone’s Japanese parent company. It is essential for investor confidence that arms of government operate within the law.”
MORE LEGAL ACTION POSSIBLE
Bridgestone might now take further legal action against the municipality to recover the costs of the shutdown and lost productivity. Young said: “Now that the plant has been re-started we will begin to quantify our commercial losses.
“Our executive team will take legal advice on the relief available.”