The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) is celebrating its seventy-fifth birthday on September 1.
The statutory body has been developing national standards, providing quality assessment services and the testing of advanced materials and products in South Africa since its establishment in September 1945.
SABS, as mandated by the Standards Act, is responsible for maintaining South Africa’s database of more than 7 000 national standards, as well as developing new standards and revising, amending or withdrawing existing standards in the country.
The bureau represents South Africa’s national interests in the development of international standards with international bodies, such as the International Organisation of Standardisation and the International Electrotechnical Commission.
It also plays an active role in regional standards bodies including African Organisation for Standardisation, Pacific Area Standards Congress, African Electrotechnical Standardisation Commission and the Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Standards (SADCSTAN).
Currently, SABS holds the secretariat for SADCSTAN, which is the standardisation body for the 14 Southern African Development Community nations.
The bureau also serves as the national notifications authority or enquiry point for the World Trade Organisation’s Technical Barriers to Trade agreement.
SABS lead administrator Jodi Scholtz says standards are the foundation for the synchronisation of regulation, technical specifications, enforcement protocols and conformity procedures.
Simply put, standards set up the rules of engagement for all transactions and interactions in the global trading system and amongst countries and businesses.
In the bureau’s 75 years of existence, it has been an active member at global standards development bodies and it has not faltered in its vision to serve the interests of the South Africa industry and to advance growth in our economy.
“The development of standards essentially sets out the framework for the exchange of services and products, both locally and globally. This is the crux of industrialisation.
“South Africa must, in the next 75 years, improve its standard setting agenda to ensure better protection of its minerals and resources and advance social development and improve the lives of its people.
“The advent of new technologies, brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, will also require new standards development so as to speed up their adoption yet not compromise on safety and quality. Never before have standards been as important as they are now for international trade. The post-Covid-19 business environment will have a strict focus on quality and global standards,” notes Scholtz.