OPINION

SABS to be grilled on continued chaos – Dean MacPherson

DA MPL says bureau posing a threat to business sustainability and job creation

DA to grill SABS on continued chaos in Parliamentary Committee tomorrow

12 June 2018

Tomorrow, in the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, the DA will grill the South Africa Bureau of Standards (SABS) on the threat it is posing to business sustainability and job creation as a result of its failure to fulfill its core mandate of product quality standardisation.

The Committee is due to consider a status report of an inquiry that was launched by DTI into the problems affecting SABS in M201, Marks Building, Parliament at 2pm tomorrow. Most importantly, SABS will update the committee on:

- funding of the testing function within the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications ( NRCS);

- measures taken by SABS since the start of the Inquiry to fix the challenges that threaten its survival as a going concern; and

- progress on accreditation of laboratories

Parliament cannot afford to stay quiet while businesses, especially small businesses who rely on standardisation for market access and job creation, lose business opportunities due to internal turmoil at SABS.

Minister Rob Davies has either ignored or remained non-committal to the DA’s repeated requests calling for the dissolution of the SABS board and to outline specific timelines by which the proposed turnaround strategy will be implemented. Minister Davies must also shoulder the blame for the chaos currently unfolding in SABS.

Parliament now has an obligation to ensure that a turnaround strategy, with specific timelines, is implemented as a matter of urgency. The R1,6 billion funding request by SABS to improve its operational efficiency should only be considered together with specific performance agreements to improve sustainability.

SABS has lost 401 customers since April 2017 because they no longer trust the entity’s testing process. Without an efficient and effective SABS, the small businesses cannot be the hope to create jobs for the 9,4 million unemployed South Africans. That is why the DA will continue to push for SABS to be turned around.

South Africa cannot afford to have a dysfunctional standards and certification body as this negatively impacts businesses who rely on standards for market access and growth.

Issued by Dean Macpherson, DA Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry, 12 June 2018