The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) is to take over as the regulator in the cement industry from the Department of Trade and Industry (dti). This announcement was made at a cement industry meeting held in Pretoria, Tuesday.
The Director of Legal Support and Prosecutions at the dti, Sipho Tleane said: "We have been regulating cement for the past 10 years, now the dti is giving the regulatory function over to the SABS."
Mr Tleane explained the department had been using the Consumer Affairs Act of 1988 to regulate unfair business practices within the cement industry, but conceded the department has been struggling to regulate cement. Later this month a new Bill will be placed before parliament which will see the splitting of the three organisations within the SABS tasked with performing regulatory duties.
The new regulations will require industry stakeholders to provide proof of compliance with regulatory specifications and go through a process of applying for approval from the SABS, as well as pass surveillance inspections from SABS regulatory inspectors.
In South Africa, cement is subjected to the provisions of the Standards Act of 1993, which provides for the promotion and maintenance of standardisation and quality in connection with commodities, such as cement, and the rendering of services.
Importers and manufacturers of cement will have to comply with the requirements of the Compulsory Specification for cement as from 6 September 2007, as published in the Government Gazette on 6 July 2007.
Furthermore, manufacturers and importers will also be required to apply to the SABS Regulatory Chemicals, Mechanical and Materials Department (CMM) for the approval of all types of cement, whether common or masonry, and its factories.
All importers will be expected to obtain a Letter of Authority before importing any cement into the country. If manufacturers or importers are found to be non-compliant with regulations, the SABS will conduct an investigation into the suspected non-compliance and can take legal action, said Technical Specialist with the CMM, Simon Odendaal.
The Cement and Concrete Institute in July reported the demand for cement in South Africa and its neighbouring countries had increased by 13 percent since the beginning of the year.