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The NRCS mandate is clearly defined in the NRCS Act. The powers delegated to the Board and CEO will enable it to act more effectively than was possible in the past.
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2016-03-24 - KEY NOTE ADDRESS AT THE DESTRUCTION OF UNSAFE GOODS IN CAPE TOWN ON 24 MARCH 2016

KEY NOTE ADDRESS BY THE TRADE AND INDUSTRY MINISTER, DR ROB DAVIES AT THE DESTRUCTION OF UNSAFE GOODS IN CAPE TOWN ON 24 MARCH 2016

Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry

CEO of the NRCS and senior officials

Commissioner of SARS and senior officials

Industry stakeholders
Members of the media
Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentleman


I am grateful for the opportunity to address you briefly this morning.

Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) remains central to the work of the Department of Trade and Industry and its agencies. IPAP focus areas have been documented in the annual iteration which is now in its fifth stage and I am very pleased that the technical infrastructure institutions have coordinated their efforts in implementing IPAP priorities.

The NRCS and other technical infrastructure institutions support industrial development by developing, maintaining and improving standards, compulsory specifications (VC’s) and technical regulations. These important institutions also offer accreditation, testing, calibration, certification, inspections and verifications services in order to ensure compliance with standards and regulatory requirements.

The mandate of the NRCS remains to protect consumers and the environment against unsafe and harmful products. It therefore plays a key role in locking out non-compliant products from trade. Targeted source surveillance at the various ports of entry into South Africa and within the country, coupled with a visible media campaign to broadcast the seizure and destruction of non-compliant products by the NRCS has started to bear fruits in preventing non-compliant products from entering into trade.

The cooperation with and partnerships between the South African Revenue Service (SARS), the South African Police Service (SAPS) and other partners have contributed to this success.

There are still a number of unscrupulous operators (both domestic and abroad) that are providing our consumers with a host of poor quality, unsafe and harmful products. At the same time, we face an increased use of standards as protectionist measures to create technical barriers to keep out competitive export products.

It is for that reason that our own development efforts require that we have in place, an effective Standards, Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Metrology (SAQM) infrastructure. Now more than ever, our everyday life depends on our ability to enforce standards to ensure the safety of products, the quality of the environment, the energy supply services and the success of export industries, among others.

Technical regulations prescribe the basic standards of goods traded in our markets. These requirements need to be competently measured and measurements need to be compatible with the country’s trading partners to facilitate trade. Very importantly, consumers need to be confident that the goods they purchase are accurately measured, safe for use and of appropriate quality for their needs.

Ladies and gentleman, today’s function confirms that the Regulator is in the right path in its quest to remove all non-compliant commodities in our country thus creating a safer environment within which our people can live.

In doing so, it is equally important for the Regulator to work very closely with the Industry. The NRCS needs to create an enabling environment for the Industry to comply and this can be achieved by inter-alia, making the Industry aware of the requirements that they need to comply with and having constant engagements with all stakeholders.

Win-win cooperative relationships can only be achieved if Regulators and regulatees find ways to believe in each other’s intentions. This will also afford the NRCS with an opportunity to understand the Industry and the level of compliance on the ground and to take the necessary steps against those not adhering to the law whilst, at the same encouraging those that are adhering.

On a positive note, there are a number of companies and industry associations who voluntarily comply and want to work with the NRCS. This is the behavior that the NRCS seeks to encourage from all stakeholders. Cooperation between regulators and regulatees, built on trust, will concurrently build efficiency and enhances compliance.

In response to the regulatory landscape of today, the NRCS has adopted port of entry inspections and a risk-based approach to its enforcement activities. These two (2) strategies are supported by the need for an enhanced collaboration with stakeholders to maximize compliance with technical regulations and Compulsory Specifications.

Port of entry enforcement is geared to ensure, as far as possible, that non-compliant products are intercepted before they enter the local markets. Whereas the risk-based approach seeks to concentrate regulatory enforcement effort on areas of high risk, while reducing the regulatory intensity on low risk areas.

These above initiatives are in line with the IPAP requirements and have contributed tremendously to the largest percentage of non-compliance to compulsory specifications already detected. In the KZN Province, over 70% of electrotechnical products are inspected at the Durban port. Through the Risk Based Model, the NRCS is also able to classify products according to the degree of risk and therefore refocus its targets inspection at source for high risk products and at the ports of entry.

It is encouraging to note that NRCS collaborates with other key government Institutions such as the National consumer Commission (NCC), South African Revenue Service (SARS), South African Police Service (SAPS) and Department of Health.

This is done with the view to tighten its regulatory activities and to sustain and encourage fair competition, while at the same time protecting consumers against unethical and exploitative trade practices. When non-compliant products are found in the market and they cannot be corrected, the NRCS can destroy them, return them to their country of origin or deal with them in any other manner as may be decided based on its internal processes.

Various non-compliant products, spanning the scope of NRCS’ regulatory activities, which is electrotechnical, chemical, mechanical and materials, will be destroyed with an estimated value of R36.6 million.

About 80% of these products have been impounded at the ports of entry through the Border Enforcement strategy that the NRCS has embarked upon since 2011. These range from adaptors, extension sets, cord sets, plastic carrier bags, swimming aids, paraffin stoves, paraffin heaters, carrier bags, swimming aids, incandescent lights, disinfectants and detergents to mention just a few.

DESCRIPTION

QUANTITY

RAND VALUE

Non-pressured Paraffin Stoves

134

R 9, 210.00

Paraffin Heaters

298

R 100, 140.00

Plastic Carrier Bags

456 400 bags

R 141, 480.00

Plastic Swimming Aids

1602

R 40, 300.00

Disinfectants

1344 litres

R 17, 569.00

Cord Sets, energy saving lamps chargers

157 469

( combined)

R 4, 301.142

Incandescent lights

2 780.255

R27, 818.475

Total

R36, 678,023.00

We are therefore pleased with these initiatives that the NRCS has undertaken to make sure that products are intercepted before they reach our market, as they have proven effective.

Meanwhile, it is also very important to mention that as a country, we must become ever more vigilant to the damage that unchecked goods, especially those that are unsafe, can do to the sustainability of our businesses and health of our people. The malfunctioning of these products can therefore lead to very serious injuries and devastating consequences for individuals and families.

As government, we are therefore committed to locking out non-compliant products, since most of them are being sold to the poor people, who often do not yet have access to the necessary information on safety standards and understand their rights in this regard.

I therefore wish to end off by encouraging the NRCS to make an extra-ordinary effort to ensure that non-compliant products are located and destroyed. I also want to strongly encourage the industry, both employers and labour, to work together with the Regulator.

As a country, we have recognised that only by working together we can overcome the current economic crisis and this is another area in which more can be achieved.

I thank you.

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