TECHNICAL INFRASTRUCTURE IN SOUTH AFRICA
Submission from South Africa
The following communication, dated 31 May 2021, is being circulated at the request of the delegation of South Africa.
1 SOUTH AFRICA'S TECHNICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
1.1. South Africa's Quality Infrastructure, normally referred to as Technical Infrastructure (TI), is a system of setting standards and demonstrating that such standards are complied with in order to build confidence in the economy. Our national system is composed of four public entities, namely: South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS), the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS); and the National Metrology Institute of South Africa (NMISA).
1.2. These four entities, complemented by the private sector bodies that perform conformity assessment services, ensure that products and industrial processes meet the required specifications for safety and performance. The TI further provides scientific based support to industry helping them improve their products and services while protecting citizens and employees from unsafe products and environments.
1.3. The following section provides the legislative architecture of South Africa's TI and associated mandates:
1.4. SABS' mandate: The Standards Act, 2008 (Act No. 8 of 2008), established the SABS as the peak national institution to: develop standards, perform conformity assessment services, promote quality. The role of SABS is to develop, maintain and promote South African National Standards (SANS). Furthermore, the SABS provide third-party commercial testing and certification services for a specific range of products and services in accordance with requirements specified in SANS.
1.5. The NRCS mandate: The NRCS administers 3 Acts:
a. The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications Act, 2008 (Act No. 5 of 2008), - established the NRCS to promote public health and safety, environmental protection and fair trade through the administration, maintenance and enforcement of Technical Regulations and Compulsory Specifications.
b. The Legal Metrology Act, 2014 (Act No. 9 of 2014), - strengthens enforcement of legal metrology, protects consumers against short measure.
c. National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, 1977 (Act No. 103 of 1977), - its purpose is to: promote uniformity in the law relating to the erection of buildings, for the prescribing of building standards, require that building be approved by local authorities prior to erection, require local authorities to employ building control officers, establishes an appeal mechanism against decisions of local authorities.
d. The role of the NRCS is to administer Compulsory Specifications and Technical Regulations and enforce compliance of regulated products that fall within these categories: Chemicals, Materials and Mechanical, Electro-technical, Food and Associated Industry, and Automotive Industry.
1.6. SANAS' mandate: SANAS was established by the Accreditation for Conformity Assessment, Calibration and Good Laboratory Practice Act, 2006 (Act No. 19 of 2006), as the sole national accreditation body to provide an internationally recognised and effective accreditation and monitoring system for South Africa in the fields of Conformity Assessment, Calibration and Good Laboratory Practice.
a. The role of SANAS is to create an impartial and transparent mechanism for organisations to independently demonstrate their competence and facilitate the beneficial exchange of goods, services and knowledge, and provide a service that is recognised as equitable to best international practice.
1.7. NMISA'S mandate: NMISA was established by the Measurement Units and Measurement Standards Act, 2006 (Act No. 18 of 2006), to provide for the use of measurement units of the International System of Units (SI) and to designate other measurement units for use; to provide for the designation of the national measurement standards (NMS) and to provide for the keeping and maintenance of the NMS.
a. The role is of NMISA is to ensure that measurements performed nationally in science, industry or for legal purposes are accurate and internationally acceptable as NMISA is the national custodian of the SI.
1.8. Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) oversees the legislative work, policy oversight and management oversight of the four institutions as listed in paragraph 1.1 of this document.