Manufacturers and importers of electronic equipment can expect a “transparent, predictable and efficient process” when applying for Electromagnetic Interference/ Compatibility (EMI/EMC) Certificates of Compliance (CoCs), South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) CEO Dr Boni Mehlomakulu said on Monday.
Following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the SABS and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to work towards ensuring that electronic equipment entering the South African market meets the required quality-performance standards, last month, the two organisations on Monday had the official launch of the of the new process and procedure for issuing EMI/EMC CoCs.
Mehlomakulu said the influx of low-quality products entering the country, and the risks they posed to consumers, had compelled the SABS and Icasa to review the process of issuing EMI/EMC CoCs.
“The Consumer Protection Act calls for consumers’ rights to receive goods that comply with applicable standards set under the Standards Act,” she said.
The SABS ceased the issuing CoCs in May 2015 citing concerns that had now been addressed.
“The old agreement was never reviewed when Icasa came into existence, so It is not clear if Icasa had [previously] authorised the SABS to issue the CoCs and roles and responsibilities between the two entities were not been explicitly stated,” said Icasa acting chairperson Rubben Mohlaloga.
He added that the SABS was also concerned that it had been issuing CoCs by endorsing test reports from external laboratories, risking the reputation and credibility of the organisation.
In July 2015, Icasa initiated engagements with the SABS to discuss a solution that would address the SABS’s concerns with minimum disruption to the industry.
As a result of the MoU, nontelecommunications electronic equipment that fell under the mandate of Icasa would be subjected to robust conformity assessment procedures to ensure that such products met the quality requirements as stipulated in the South African National Standards.
Icasa believed the collaboration would go a long way in ensuring that all electronic equipment or devices entering the South African market met the required quality-performance standards.
“The main purpose for issuance of the CoCs for EMI/EMC is to ensure that radiated and conducted disturbances emanating from electronic devices are within regulated limits,” stated Mohlaloga.
He explained that this radiation could cause harmful interference and degrade the quality of service in wireless communications systems if not controlled.
“The process for issuing CoCs was based on the evaluation of the EMI/EMC test reports obtained by the manufacturers, importers and suppliers from other recognised testing laboratories,” he noted.
The SABS also conducted partial internal tests only if the equipment did not conform to all technical parameters in relevant standards or if there were suspicions of nonconformance.
He pointed out that the MoU affirmed a strategic relationship that allowed the SABS to continue issuing the CoCs on behalf of Icasa under a revised process and conditions.
“This agreement serves as an instrumental blueprint for future partnerships between the two regulators to advance the national objective of increased collaboration between state owned entities and organs of State,” he said.