The Southern African Plastic Pipe Manufacturers Association (Sappma) has taken legal action against the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) to address the standards body’s alleged failure to perform in terms of its mandate and to meet its obligations, as prescribed in the Standards Act.
Following a string of unfulfilled attempts made by Sappma to get the SABS to heed its warnings, as well as numerous warnings issued in the past ten years, and as recently as December, the pipes manufacturing body again issued the SABS with a letter in March, through attorney David Swartz of Phillip Silver Swartz Incorporated, calling for an urgent meeting to address the issues at length.
According to Sappma CEO Jan Venter, the SABS responded to the letter on April 15 and agreed to an urgent meeting, which is due to take place May 11, according to Sappma representatives.
Among Sappma’s concerns were that the SABS was failing to renew plastic pipe manufacturers’ expired licences without providing any indication of when the licences would be renewed.
Further, the SABS “unilaterally and without any consultation” in July last year decided to disallow the partial testing of products manufactured by players in the industry.
Sappma also alleged that the SABS failed to ensure that testing facilities and testing laboratories were adequate and that those responsible for the testing were competent.
“As a result of the SABS’s failure to perform in terms of its mandate, local manufacturers of plastic pipes are no longer able to use the SABS Certification Mark,” said Venter.
He added that these developments had, and would continue to have, dire consequences for the manufacturers, the industry and the country. These consequences included a lack of product confidence in the marketplace, no measurable improvement in product and service quality, and local manufacturers not being permitted to submit their products for tender, as manufacturers are hindered in the sale and distribution of their products without the SABS mark of approval.