Sign In

Legal Metrology Overview

The Legal Metrology Act as promulgated in August 2014 expanded the scope of Legal Metrology to include measurements in the fields of health, safety, and the environment. The promulgation of the Legal Metrology Act places South Africa on par with many developed countries and well in advance of many developing countries especially some of our trading partners.

​​​Legal Metrology Activities

The following is a list of activities undertaken to give effect to the requirements of the Legal Metrology Act and Regulations:​​

T​​ype Approval of measuring instruments used in Trade; Health; Safety and Environment.

Is the evaluation process to ascertain whether measuring instruments complies with the Act and is suitable for use for a prescribed purpose in such a way that it is expected to provide reliable measurement results over a defined period. A Type Approval certificate shall be issued on successful completion of the evaluation of the measuring instrument submitted. Based on trends over the last 20 years and an analysis of the available staff as well as available man-hours all submissions for type approval projects will be completed within an average processing time of 120 working days per application.

Typ​e evaluation of Gaming Equipment
Legal Metrology is also responsible for evaluating of test reports from NGB licensed test laboratories to determine compliance with the requirements of the compulsory specifications with the view of issuing a Letter of Certification (LOC) for compliant gaming and gambling equipment under the authority of the National Gambling Act, 2004 (Act 7 of 2004). Issuing of a LOC, after evaluation of test report to specific requirements in relation to hardware and/or software of gambling machines. From Gaming analysis, it is evident that all applications for LOCs will be issued within an average processing time of 21 working days per application.

Market surveillance
Market surveillance is performed to determine compliance with the prescribed requirements of the Legal Metrology Act, 2014 (Act 9 of 2014) and Regulations; any measuring instrument, product or other related matter which may in terms of this Act be inspected are inspected.

  • pre-packaged goods to prevent short measure or/and incorrect labeling from entering the market.
  • measuring instruments to prevent the use of false, defective, or inaccurate measuring instruments.
  • Application of sanctions in instances of non-compliance through directives/rejection, warnings, and recommendations for prosecution

Designation of verification and repair bodies
This is a process of ensuring compliance to legislation through the use of bodies designated to perform verifications on behalf of the Regulator. Private organizations can be designated as a verification and repair body. A letter of designation is issued to competent/accredited laboratories to verify or repair measuring instruments under the control of Legal Metrology. Certificates of designation will only be issued to successful applications that met all prescribed criteria. In the monitoring of the designation, the Legal Metrology unit conduct annual inspections at designated verification and repair bodies. Legal Metrology also provide lead and technical assessors expertise to the SANAS Verification and Repair Laboratory Accreditation Program

Verification is the process of determining whether instruments are in compliance to type approval requirements and accurate within the tolerances as prescribed by the Legal Metrology Act. Legal Metrology provides verification where no designated bodies exist.

Technical Training
Assess and certify the competence of Verification Officers and that of repairers through written and practical examinations by NRCS assessors. Verification Officer and Repairer Certificates are issued to all successful candidates once the following has been completed.

  • Evaluation and registration of verification officers working in designated verification bodies.
  • Evaluation and registration of repairers working in designated repair bodies

Calibration Services
To provide calibration service to verification bodies (client), market surveillance inspectors, and type approval with the aim of ensuring traceability to National Standards (Physical) of the working standards used to do verification and inspection. On completion of the calibration process, the client or regional office will be issued with a calibration certificate. It is a requirement of the Legal Metrology Act that all working standards be calibrated annually. Legal Metrology further provide calibration service to industry to ensure accuracy and traceability to International and National standard on the following:

  • Mass pieces and
  • volumetric measures

Quantity and Measurement mark schemes
The Quantity and Measurement mark schemes are voluntary schemes to pre-packers facilitating the Control of the contents in prepacked packages in terms of SANS 1841 and the Manufacture of measuring container bottles in terms of SANS 1840, which enable smooth trade both national and international.

  • ℮ – mark for importers and local manufacturers;
  • Э – mark for Measuring Container Bottles. 

No person may use these marks unless registered with NRCS.

Quality Management Systems Accreditation

Legal Metrology adopted and maintains accreditation on a number of Management Systems to ensure the level of confidence in operations through consistent application and interpretation of requirements.

  • The type approval and 4 calibration laboratories situated in Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town are accredited under ISO 17025,
  • Market surveillance function is accredited under ISO 17020

Harmonizing of International, Regional and Local Standards
This is achieved through participation in strategic Structures and Technical Committees on an International, Regional and National level. This process includes the hosting of the secretariat in some committees, commenting, and voting in the interest of South Africa. In response to demands for goods that are safe and environmentally friendly, governments and their regulators are adopting various approaches when imposing technical regulations. These technical regulations may involve product standards, conformity assessment such as product certification, testing, and inspection, pre-or post-market requirements as well as sanctions if the products fail to meet the requirements set out in various technical regulations. ​

As a result of the multiplicity of approaches used by governments and their regulators, it is difficult for enterprises, specifically enterprises from developing countries, to meet requirements in both the domestic and the export market. Access to the appropriate underlying technical institutional capacity, through a strategy supported by Government, is therefore crucial to realizing and maintaining market access for South Africa.

The adoption of OIML recommendations is crucial for growth initiatives and sector-specific expansion as they will ensure compliance to international standards as well as to WTO/TBT agreement obligations and will ensure easier market access to foreign markets.