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SABS to host the 42nd ISO General Assembly and ISO Week in South Africa

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) is a founding member of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and will be hosting the annual ISO week from 16-20 September, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The week opens with the Developing Countries Council meetings from 17-18 September and proceeds to the 42nd ISO General Assembly scheduled for 19-20 September.

National Standardisation Bodies (NSBs) from 114 countries will be attending ISO week, with a total delegation of about 600 people expected. ISO is the international standard-setting body, formed in 1947 which has a catalogue of ISO standards in excess of 22500. SABS plays an important role in international standardisation and participates in 429 ISO committees, holds 10 secretariat and 11 chairperson roles.

The 2019 ISO week will focus on the theme ‘Vision 2030’ which aims to establish a framework for the new ISO strategy 20130. The week will also look at the United Nations sustainable development goals and articulation of a standardisation response in support of the realisation of the goals. The goals include an eradication of poverty, zero hunger, good health and wellbeing, quality education, gender equality, affordable and clean energy, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth, industry; innovation and infrastructure, reducing inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, sustainable oceans and rivers, sustainable land use, peace; justice and strong institutions, global partnerships for sustainable goals.

“Standardisation is critical to the efficient functioning of all economies and exists to ensure that access to and delivery of products, management systems and services are aligned to requisite standards. The UN sustainable goals are echoed in the national development plan, which can be achieved through the development and implementation of national standards. Minimum requirements which exist throughout the world need to be included in policy making, general trade agreements and in every transaction and interaction for Vision 2030 to be realised,” says Garth Strachan, Acting CEO of SABS.

SABS also hosted ISO week 10 years ago which was the first time an African country hosted the ISO General Assembly. The 2019 event is also special as it heralds in the first African ISO president who takes office on 01 January 2020


For more information contact:
Roshelle Pillay; Media Relations;;0124286878, 0610300133

SABS leads industry collaboration in determining renewal and modernisation of NETFA

Various organisations and industry associations met at the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) today for the first planning meeting of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). The National Electrical Test Facility (NETFA) TAC was launched on 30 July 2019 to create an open and inclusive platform for a broad group of electro-technical stakeholders to advise on the renewal and modernisation of NETFA.

NETFA is the largest, independent test facility for power utilities and the electro-technical industry, within Africa and has been providing services since 1980. The test facility, based in Olifantsfontein, Gauteng is equipped with indoor and outdoor high-voltage test facilities, a short circuit test laboratory and a materials & installations laboratory. NETFA provides services to a wide range of local, African and international clients in fields such as electricity generation and distribution, mining equipment, asset management, and electronics manufacturing.

“While SABS has regularly invested in maintenance and upgrades, we have reached a point where we need to strategically recapitalise NETFA to meet current and future test demands. The renewal must be done with the support and inclusion of the industry that it supports. The collective expertise of the TAC will be invaluable in determining the success of the modernisation effort,” says Johan Louw, SABS Executive: Laboratory Services Division.

Key industry stakeholders who make up the NETFA TAC will ensure alignment of the capital investment plans to the pace and development of the industry. Various workgroups will be created to ensure that there is a broader and deeper engagement to the proposed strategy and implementation plan.

“NETFA needs to support the local economy with relevant, cost effective conformity assessment services. The upgraded facility will be better able to meet the requirements of local and international standards as well as customer specific requirements. Products that are successfully tested at NETFA will enhance South Africa’s export potential and supports job creation,” says Louw.

In March 2019 the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) allocated R300 million, over a three year period to SABS for the purposes of upgrades to critical infrastructure to support the economy. R95 million was earmarked for infrastructure upgrades and included NETFA.


For more information contact:
Roshelle Pillay; Media Relations;;0124286878, 0610300133

The science of Solar Geysers for domestic use

Author: Erich Seeger, Senior Manager, Pr. Sci. Nat.


The concept of solar collection is not new at all, there are records of solar collection dated back to before the 1900’s, one of the first solar water heater found was a tank painted black and mounted on a roof. Basically, white light is all the colours in the visible spectrum. The closer a body is to white, the more light energy it reflects, which a black object effectively absorbs all the energy from the light as heat. Visible light forms a very small part of the electromagnetic spectrum, wavelengths of 400nm to 700nm’s. On each side of the spectrum we find ultraviolet (short wavelengths) and infrared (longer wavelengths), both invisible to the human eye. We feel infrared as heat.

The full electromagnetic spectrum extends from gamma-rays (very short wavelengths) to radio waves (very long waves) which has other useful purposes. Sunlight covers the entire electromagnetic spectrum which makes it a very valuable source of energy. A black object absorbs this energy which is transformed in heat. We can then transfer this heat to another body such as water.

The Physics of solar water geysers

Heat capacity can easily be understood by the example of the beach and the sea, early in the morning the sand is relatively cool and in the afternoon the sand may become very hot but the sea remained at the same temperature although both were exposed to the same sunlight. The answer lies in the heat capacities of water versus sand. Much more energy is needed to heat up water than sand.

The heat capacity of water is very important and is the amount of heat it requires to raise the temperature of 1mL of water with 1 degree Celsius.

Cw=4,186 Joules/gK

Heat always flows from a warmer body to the cooler body and this is called heat flow. The heat transfer, Q is the measured solar energy absorbed in terms of the increase in temperature of the water.

Qgain = Qloss

Where Qloss is the sun energy absorbed and Qgain is temperature rise of the water.The heat gained can be calculated by using the simple heat flow equation,

Q = mc∆T

Where Q is the heat flow and measured in joules, m is the mass of the water, c is the heat capacity of the water and ∆T is change of the water temperature.
One Joule is equivalent to one Watt of power radiated or dissipated for one second, so 1W = 1J/s. There are many practical examples in nature and one is one second of sunlight shining on a 10 cm2 piece of earth surface.

The standards that shape the South African industry

South African National Standards (SANS) are developed and maintained by SABS and various technical committees. As technologies change, the standards are updated. Some of the primary standards are discussed below.

  • SANS 1307:2014 - Domestic storage solar water heating system. This standing includes 23 additional standards, depending on the design and construction of the system.
  • SANS 151:2017 - Fixed electric storage water heaters
  • SANS 10400 - National Building Regulations. This standard defines that solar geysers could consist of the following, but not limited to:
  • a) Solar Thermal Collectors to capture and retain the heat from the sun and this energy is used to heat the water.
    b) Pump (Active system).
    c) Controller which senses the temperature differences between water leaving the solar collector and water in the storage tank.
    d) Insulated tank that is a water filled container to be heated.
  • SANS 6210: 2016 - Domestic solar water heaters — Mechanical qualification tests. This standard contains the specifications for mechanical tests

Types of Testing that SABS conducts

SABS conducts the following mechanical tests against the specifications contained in SANS 6210.

  • Stagnation of the collectors – the system is exposed to the sun for 15 to 30 days without any water in the system. During the test regular observations of the system is made and recorded.
  • Fatigue and hydrostatic pressure test – The system is subjected to 250,000 cycles between zero kPa and the working pressure of the system.
  • Rain Penetration test – The collectors are sprayed with water at a volumetric rate of 165 litres per hour. After the test there should be no accumulative water on the interior of the collectors.
  • Resistance to hail damage – During this test the system is exposed to a simulated hail impact and no damage shall be visible after the test.
  • Test for resistance to freezing – The system is exposed to a temperature of -20 degrees Celsius for a time period and then increased to 20 degrees Celsius for four cycles. After the test all components shall be evaluated for any visible damage and if deemed necessary, a pressure test may be performed.
  • The test for resistance to dezincification is performed on all plumbing components to verify the quality of the brass components. DZR means the leaching of zinc out off a brass alloy.

SABS conducts the following tests against the specifications contained in SANS 1307. Conformance to SANS 1307 requires testing to SANS 151 as SANS 151 is referenced as a normative requirement in SANS 13074.

  • The performance of a geyser is tested against SANS 151.
  • Safety tests are conducted against SANS 60335-2-21 -Safety of household and similar electrical appliances Part 1, and requirements for storage water heaters Part 2.
  • Mechanical performance tests according to SANS 1307 - Domestic solar water heaters.
  • Thermal performance tests (Efficiency or performance or Q factor of systems) against SANS 6211-1 – Thermal performance tests
  • Tests for SANS 10106 – installation and maintenance of solar water heating systems.

Testing for Certification purposes

For the purpose of the SABS Certification scheme the SABS auditor will identify the samples to be taken to the SABS Laboratories during the site assessment. It is important to note that a self-sampled system may not be used for certification purposes because there is no traceability back to a batch that was manufactured. Samples selected for testing need to conform to the visual inspection criteria before it is submitted to the Testing Laboratory.

Testing will be conducted on the samples against the relevant SANS. Only successful test reports will enable a manufacturer to proceed with the certification of the geyser type.

Local content verification

SABS will conduct verification according to SANS 1286:2017 and local production and content designation requirements as contained in the National Treasury Instruction Note. This is to ensure that local manufacturing takes place in the country and that minimum local content threshold is achieved. The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) has designated SWH components at 70% for solar collectors; and 70% for storage tanks (geysers).


For more information contact:
Roshelle Pillay; Media Relations;;0124286878, 0610300133

The outdoor laboratory for testing solar geysers, located in Groenkloof, Pretoria.
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Solar Geysers raise the standard of basic services

While access to water and sanitation remain a basic human right, in South Africa access to solar heated water may become the norm. The collaboration with government and the private sector in the last few years has produced a sound foundation for the provision of high quality, safe and locally produced solar geysers.

“The intersection of various regulations, the intent to find alternative sources of energy and the requirement for testing, local content verification and certification of solar geysers will lead to hot water in homes becoming a reality for all South Africans in the future. The reduced reliance on the energy grid has multiple benefits on household expenses, access to services and will bolster economic growth,” says Garth Strachan, Acting CEO of SABS.

The following regulations and partnerships have contributed to the growth of the industry:

  • The National regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) has regulated geysers for domestic use (VC 9006). The regulation includes the labelling of the products and conformance to SANS 151 through a recognised certification scheme
  • A partnership with the Department of Energy (DoE) and South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has resulted in thousands of geysers being successfully tested and the local content being verified
  • National Building Regulation for energy Usage in buildings requires that 50% (by volume) of the annual average of hot water requirements come from sources other than electric heating or fossil fuels, encouraging the use of solar geysers
  • The Department of Trade and Industry has designated solar water heater components at 70% for collectors and 70% for storage tanks

SABS is currently the only laboratory in South Africa that is independently testing solar geysers. The laboratory comprises an indoor and outdoor test facility that covers mechanical and electrical components. There are a range of SANS that applies to the testing of solar geysers and the duration of tests range over several weeks.

“The SABS will continue to be part of solutions that contribute to greater access to services, poverty alleviation and the upliftment of society. Ensuring that solar geysers are tested and certified to quality standards leads to greater take up of the energy efficient solutions for water heating. Including the product as a designated products creates a robust local manufacturing sector with long term economic benefits,” says Strachan.


For more information contact:
Roshelle Pillay; Media Relations;;0124286878, 0610300133

The City of Cape Town leads implementation and certification of SABS standards

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has awarded the City of Cape Town’s Electricity Generation and Distribution department which is a part of the Energy and Climate Change division with an OHSAS 18001 certificate. The certificate covers 27 sites of the division. The award ceremony took place today at their head office in Bellville, Cape Town.

The OHSAS certification has been awarded to the City of Cape Town’s division after it was audited by SABS and the results confirm that the City’s processes and operations comply with the requirements of OHSAS 18001: Occupational Health and Safety Management System.

“The process of being awarded the certification is rigorous and we commend the City as they now have a documented system in place for health and safety. Municipalities across the country are not often aware that South African National Standards (SANS) and conformity assessment services can and should play a role to enable municipalities to function efficiently and ultimately to improve delivery of services to communities. The range of SANS available provide specifications on a range of products, management and operating systems. SABS provides indispensable support to municipalities and helps them deliver cost effective and professional services,” says Garth Strachan, Acting CEO of SABS.

The City of Cape Town is one of the first municipalities to achieve SANS/ISO 18001: Occupational Health and safety management system certification for its Electricity Generation and Distribution Department. It also boasts SABS certification for SANS/ISO 9001: quality management system for the Department of Water and Sanitation.

The SABS, which is an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry provides a vital service to municipalities, especially those that are experiencing difficulties in delivering their mandate. Some of the services include the development of SANS, product and system certification, conformity assessment, training, local content verification and consignment inspection. SABS has also been able to assist in developing tender specifications that has greatly reduced fruitless and wasteful expenditure, by ensuring that quality specifications and independent verification of the quality of products procured are included.

“Partnerships and collaboration amongst municipalities and state agencies are crucial in the delivery of quality services and products to citizens. Institutions like the SABS must be used to grow local economies, to improve the performance and management of municipalities and to ensure that certification to standards (both local and international) are attained as a vehicle to attract investment,” says Strachan.


OHSAS 18001: Occupational Health and Safety System will be replaced by SANS/ISO 45000: Occupational Health and Safety System in March 2021. SABS is currently working with the City of Cape Town to transition to the new standard.

Issued By: Roshelle Pillay; Media Relations; 0124286878, 0610300133;

SABS can assist municipalities with the testing of chemical toilets

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) is aware that municipalities are faced with challenges regarding the management of chemical toilets. SABS is able and willing to work with the relevant municipalities to design a set of specific requirements for the efficient functioning of portable toilets (chemical or otherwise). The importance of specifications is that testing or verification services can be done against those criteria.

Currently, there is no specific SANS that details the use of chemicals in portable toilets, however there are several standards, based on international standards that can be consulted for the development of specific requirements for portable, chemical toilets.

  • SANS/ISO 30500:2018 –Specifies general safety and performance requirements for design and testing as well as sustainability considerations for non-sewered sanitation systems (NSSS).
  • SANS/ISO 8099:2008 - Specifies requirements for the design, construction and installation of systems for temporary retention of sewage for subsequent disposal. Applies to small craft of hull length up to 24 m.
  • SANS/IEC 60335-2-84:2014 - Deals with the safety of electric toilets in which excrement is stored, dried, or destructed, their rated voltage being not more than 250 V.

SABS has the largest suite of testing laboratories in South Africa and can offer a customised, multidisciplinary testing service to ensure that the mechanical, chemical, electrical and other elements are supplied according to a stringent set of specifications.

A safe functioning toilet is required for its impact on public health, human dignity, and personal safety, especially for women and children. Globally, 19 November is observed as World Toilet Day as declared by the United National General Assembly in 2013. In South Africa, the eradication of pit toilets and the provision of safe, functioning and efficient toilet systems are required. The SABS is integral to ensure that South Africans benefit from standardisation and the assurance from having products tested.


Please attribute quotations to: Garth Strachan, Acting CEO of SABS

For more information contact Roshelle Pillay:
0124286878, 0610300133

National Electricity Test Facility (NETFA) and ACTOM sign cooperation agreement to enhance testing of locally manufactured electrical equipment

The National Electricity Test Facility (NETFA), which is owned by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), and ACTOM (Pty) Ltd, South Africa’s leading electro-mechanical group, have formalised a cooperation agreement for the testing of products from ACTOM’s Transmission & Distribution (T&D) divisions in pursuit of a commercial relationship to underpin the delivery of quality testing of the locally manufactured products.

The agreement is aimed at improving cooperation and services offered by NETFA for all electrical products that are manufactured in South Africa by ACTOM’s six T&D divisions.

The ACTOM T&D divisions manufacture and supply a comprehensive range of electrical infrastructural equipment which caters chiefly to clients in the public sector. The divisions are ACTOM High Voltage Equipment, ACTOM Power Transformers, ACTOM Distribution Transformers, ACTOM MV Switchgear, ACTOM Protection & Control and ACTOM Current Electric.

The cooperation agreement, which was signed on March 18, 2019, is seen as a forerunner to a NETFA initiative which will see more frequent engagements with companies in the national electricity supply sector.

Currently NETFA meets most of the national industrial testing requirements and the cooperation agreement will ensure that all companies in the sector are kept appraised of NETFA’s operational improvements to its testing systems and procedures.

Following the appointment of a new accounting authority, the SABS has adopted a greater customer-centric approach than it had in the past. The organisation has displayed a greater willingness to meet customers’ testing requirements and has initiated a programme to respond promptly to customers’ specific requirements regarding testing and queries.

Tembela Caza, ACTOM’s Divisional CEO for T&D, said: “One of the most important points that NETFA conveyed to us in our discussions with them – which are now encapsulated in the signed agreement – is that they are totally customer-focussed and are ready and willing to tailor-make their methods to meet customers’ specific testing requirements as far as possible.”

Johan Louw, the SABS’ Executive: Laboratory Services Division, commented: “The demand for high, medium and low voltage electromechanical goods in Southern Africa continues to grow and NETFA is the primary facility on the continent that conducts tests on this range from ACTOM and of course others manufacturing similar and related equipment.

“We realise that success at NETFA is also success for the domestic market, so the opportunity to collaborate with a home-grown electrical equipment manufacturer made sense and we wanted to codify this relationship. These are large and complicated equipment items, so it is only through collaboration we can deepen the sophistication of our testing methodologies.

“This means better quality products being bought by the market and especially those in the public sector. In our book this means greater value for money and quality for the average citizen,” he concluded.

Caza added that the cooperation agreement was likely to be extended to other ACTOM divisions and business units in the future.

ACTOM (Pty) Ltd is a level 1 B-BBEE Contributor with 51.97% Black Ownership and 34.79% Black Women Ownership. It is the largest manufacturer, solution provider, repairer, maintainer and distributor of electro-mechanical equipment in Africa.

For media enquiries contact:

Bjorn Buyst,
Phone: 012 428 7911 or 0861 277


Today in Pretoria, the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) advised customers that testing conditions have been disrupted as a result of cable theft in the Pretoria area. The unforeseen disruption will cause delays in testing and the issuing of customer test certificates.

Electricity cables were stolen during May 2019 and on 19 May 2019 the SABS Building Management System (BMS) was negatively impacted through a power surge. While the repairs to the BMS have been prioritised the aged system has not been able to stabilise the environmental conditions required by the SABS laboratories.

The SABS customer communication states that ‘over the last four weeks the supply of testing conditions, namely temperature and humidity, from its central plant room to its laboratories has been interrupted by a faulty building management system (BMS) which was damaged in an electrical power surge on 19 May 2019, caused by the theft of municipal power cables in the Groenkloof area and that the SABS has not yet been able to fully restore testing conditions.’

The SABS said that although repairs were prioritised, the BMS control panel is still unable to fully monitor and control the hot and cold water system. This system provides the stable testing conditions to the laboratories on the 21-hectare campus. The engineering team has recommended that the existing boilers operate below the required capacity, at 80°C to prevent any further disruptions to operations.

Issued By:

Nils Flaatten, 082 409 2020 or

For information:

Ian Plaatjes – SABS Executive: Digitalisation (and responsible for facilities)


The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) is committed to improving our external communication with our suppliers, customers and stakeholders. This external communication aims to provide a progress report on the Turnaround Plan (TA) for our Textiles, Leather and Footwear Laboratories and our service offerings that have been developed in the past 6 months.

1. Customer Specific Requirements (CSR)

The implementation of the Customer Specific Requirements (CSR) testing, which previously been referred to as partial testing, has now commenced in the laboratories. Although the initial uptake by the textiles, leather and footwear sectors has been moderate we believe that we have a strong offering to assist businesses with CSR solutions. We encourage companies and sector bodies to contact us for further information.

2. South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) Accreditation

The Textiles, Leather and Footwear Laboratory, which underwent a successful SANAS re-assessment at the end of February 2019, is an ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accredited facility. The Laboratory seeks to increase our scope of accreditation and we aim to get 10 of testing methods accredited. The application process with regards to this has already been sent to SANAS and we eagerly await the dates for the assessment.

This laboratory is accredited to test to ISO 2589, ISO 3376, SANS ISO 2062, ISO 6940, ISO 6941, SABS ISO 13934-1 and SANS ISO 105 - A02, A03, B02, C01, C02, C03, C04, C05, C10, E01 and E04.

3. SATRA Membership

Following our customer roadshows and industry engagements we have begun the process of membership renewal with SATRA which is a Notified Body for various European directives including personal protection equipment (PPE).

We believe that the benefits of membership will allow the SABS to access SATRA’s technical infrastructure, benchmark our testing capabilities with their state of the art facilities, access their technical experts, allow us to procure additional instrumentation to close the SABS’ testing gaps and assist with the training of our test officers.

Furthermore, we believe that there are opportunities to sub-contract testing should the SABS not have the specific capability or should we require support in managing testing overflows during high sample testing periods. The SABS concluded a planned meeting with Ms. Christine Powley-Williams, the Assistant Director, SATRA Technology Centre in May 2019 to explore further opportunities.

The Laboratory has also undertaken a technology benchmarking exercise with SATRA and members of the SABS testing team are planning to visit SATRA at the end of the second quarter.

4. Appointment of a Laboratory Manager

We are happy to announce the appointment of Dr. Mlando Mvubu as the new Manager for the Textiles, Leather and Footwear Laboratory. Dr. Mvubu brings a wealth of industry experience and joins the SABS from the CSIR where he served in the Textiles: Research, Development and Testing unit for 9-years.

5. Equipment Renewal Programme

The SABS has invested R2 million in the procurement of a Humidity Chamber and a new Impact Tester. The Humidity chamber was delivered in May 2019 and is currently being commissioned. The procurement of the Impact Tester is still in-progress. Procurement is currently underway for the next phase of investment which will see a further R2.5 million spent by the middle of October 2019.

Some of the new instruments that were identified for this phase include:

  • Martindale STM 633 abrasion tester,
  • Bally penetrometer STM 703 – for upper water resistance,
  • Bally penetrometer STM 706 - for water resistance,
  • STM 473 Water vapour permeability device,
  • STD 478 water vapour absorption test apparatus, and
  • Instron Tensile Testing Systems

Further investment needs will be explored commensurate with industry requirements and partnering opportunities.

6. Improved Communication

The SABS has undertaken a huge investment and adopted a long-term digitization strategy which forms the backbone of our deliberate effort to modernize our ICT infrastructure. Part of this plan includes a renewed and improved Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). The benefits envisaged from this investment includes automated customer feedback as well as reporting mechanisms.

7. Improved Turnaround Times

During the December/ January recess, our operations were temporarily shut down to allow the SABS to undertake routine maintenance and repairs of critical infrastructure. This work was aimed at mitigating any operational stoppages and to ensure stable environmental testing conditions. We are pleased to announce that this work has been successful and has had positive impact on testing turnaround times. We will continue to work hard at maintaining stable testing conditions and have identified a new area for the Footwear Laboratory which is much more stable. Further communications on this will follow.

Engagements with the dti: Textiles, Leather and Footwear directorate

During April a SABS team, led by Mr. Johan Louw (Executive: Laboratory Services Division), Mr. Thabo Sepuru (Senior Manager: Chemicals & Materials Cluster) and Dr. Mlando Mvubu, met with Dr. Jaywant Irkhede from the dti to give him a status update on the Turnaround Plan for the Textiles, Leather and Footwear Laboratory. All of the matters that were discussed are captured in this status update report.

For further information please contact

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Local entrepreneur shakes up the skin care industry

This is a story about a vision, hard work, determination, belief, support and collaboration with various role players to make the dream a reality…

About 240 000 tubs and tubes of The PortiaMtm range of skincare products fly off the shelves off various local retailers every month. Thousands of users post testimonials on social media about how the South African manufactured products have helped their skin. The affordable range is stocked at Pick n Pay, Checkers, Shoprite, Game, Clicks and Dischem. With R35 million in sales from 2018 being recorded and year on year growth of 20-25% being experienced since 2015, the company is ready for greater heights. With the recent South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) certification to SANS/ISO 9001, the company’s dream of expanding beyond the region is set to become a reality.

The company, Sibahle Skin Solutions was founded by Portia Mngomezulu in 2010. After discovering the incredible effects of using a marula oil product to reduce stretch marks following the birth of her first child, Portia needed to share her story and her products. Initially she began mixing her skin care solutions at home and sharing the products within her social circles. Within a few months the testimonials and photographic evidence of the products working on a variety of skins and skin type, Portia had the vision to commercialise her products. She has a day and night cream, toner, soaps, lotions, serums and body washes for various skins types in her skin care range.

Portia started at the very beginning. She began developing her products from her kitchen, moved into her garage and then rented out office space. Initially the products were sold within her social circle, however the demand grew and she then registered her company and trademarked the PortiaM brand. As a young, black female entrepreneur, there were various organisation to assist Portia launch her company and products. She learned about the commercialisation of her products and began to work on getting her products into retailers.

In September 2018, Sibahle Skin Solutions moved into their very own premises in Sunderland Ridge, Centurion, Pretoria. The new offices are more that 1500m2 and can make several batches of the skin care products at the same time. “The new offices give us the capability to increase our demand and to employ more people as we expand”, says Portia. Currently there are 33 people employed and the production plant is semi-automated. She says: “We are ready for the next growth step and having just achieved our SABS certification to SANS/ISO 9001, we are ready to take our products into Europe and the USA.”

SANS/ISO 9001 is an international set of standards relating to quality management. Implementation of the standards ensures that organisations put in the relevant systems and processes to ensure that there is quality management throughout the operations. Certification to the standard through SABS, provides assurance to international markets that the company has been audited and found to be operating according to the standards. “The road to certification has not been easy and we have tried for many years, however there were always audit findings that we have had to fix. Now with the certification achieved, it feels like the company I have created is finally ready to compete with more established competitors. I have the confidence to move into other markets,” enthuses Portia.

SABS has been with Portia since her early days when she was still making products on her hot plate and looking to test her products. The SMME department has been assisting her throughout the journey guiding her towards achieving certification. “As difficult and as long as the journey has gone, the implementation of SANS/ISO 9001 has really simplified the way I do business. It has assisted with the onboarding process as the operational requirements are mapped out, the productions processes are documented and it has freed up some of my time to start expanding into global markets,” says Portia.

Portia is currently working on a baby range of products. Like her adult range, she has been testing her prototypes on her own children and is very excited about the effects. The products are currently in development.
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Today, in Cape Town, Mr. Garth Strachan, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the South Africa Bureau of Standards (SABS) reported to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry that the Turnaround Plan, which had been approved by its Shareholder - the Minister of Trade and Industry in January 2019, had brought back stability to the entity and that the SABS had reintroduced Customer Specific Requirement (CSR) testing.

Strachan said: “A key element in stabilising the SABS was to address the laboratory turnaround and this presented a need to resolve the vexing issue of ‘partial testing’ which we abandoned in 2015. This business decision, to limit all testing activities to a full South African National Standard (SANS), had many unintended consequences. As a result, the SABS and the dti were inundated with customer complaints and requests for us to reinstate the provision of partial testing. We had to change our strategy and create the capacity to deliver on our customer’s business needs. As a result the SABS Turnaround Plan has introduced a riskbased approach to Customer Specific Requirements testing. We still have a long journey ahead but initial industry engagements have validated our decision. We call on industry associations and companies that still have unresolved matters to contact the SABS urgently”.

The SABS, which had suffered from declining board governance and poor performance concerns, was placed under administration in July 2018. Three co-administrators were appointed for a six month period and Dr. Rob Davies, the Minister of Trade and Industry, has subsequently extended the co-administratorsappointment until the end of October 2019.

“The diagnostic report which was undertaken by the co-administrators and the disclaimer audit opinion by the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA) demonstrates that the decision, by the Minister, to place the SABS under administration was done timeously and in the public interest”, said Strachan .

Strachan went on to say that the SABS Turnaround Plan had begun to deliver results on cost containment, revenue generation, and the optimisation of procurement processes. He said that the SABS had budgeted R300 million for capital expenditure (capex) of which R58 million had been approved for the upgrading of critical testing infrastructure in the petroleum, chemicals and materials, agro-processing laboratories, R80 million for the digitisation of business processes and the remaining R95 million earmarked for maintenance of infrastructure which includes the National Electrical Test Facility (NETFA) in Olifantsfontein. He said in the six months under review the co-administrators had halved the trade deficit to R24 million, filled critical vacancies and maintained the SANAS accreditation.

The SABS has revitalised the Local Content Verification programme and had identified 64 projects of which 15 are in project execution. Strachan said that the SABS Local Content Verification programme is still dependent upon an approved government funding model which could open new verification opportunities in the mining sector.

Issued By:
Nils Flaatten, 082 409 2020 or

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Did you know that state condoms are tested to more stringent specifications?

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has been appointed as the laboratory to test the state issued condoms. These condoms are branded Max and distributed, free of charge within South Africa. Globally, the perception of state issued goods and services are categorised as ‘cheap’ and of a low quality, simply because they are free. This is not the case with Max condoms.

With the implementation of standardisation and compulsory testing, perceptions of state issued commodities are changing for the better. The Department of Health procures and distributes a billion condoms per year, sourced from multiple manufacturers in several countries around the world, to ensure a long and healthy life for all South Africans.

SABS has established a dedicated, accredited laboratory for the testing of condoms for both the Department of Health and private manufacturers of condoms. State issued condoms are tested to criteria set by the Department of Health, which are more stringent than testing requirements of SANS 4074. The additional set of guidelines for the testing of condoms requires the state issued condoms to be tested more frequently and ensures that every batch is tested, ensuring quality.

Why are state issued condoms of a higher quality?

  • Every batch of condoms is subject to testing, before it is distributed. From every batch of condoms manufactured, a sample is randomly selected using the international sampling criteria stipulated in SANS 2859-1:2004 for testing and only if the samples pass the test phase, does the batch get distributed;
  • A continuing series of tests and isolated tests are performed on the samples;
  • There is a central point of testing in South Africa, located at the SABS site in Groenkloof. This means that irrespective of where the condoms are manufactured, the products must conform to the stringent guidelines imposed by local authorities; and
  • According to the Department guidelines, each and every condom foil packet will have the batch or lot number printed on it, enabling the user to clearly verify whether that specific product has been endorsed by SABS.

The relationship with the Department of Health and SABS spans more than decade and has evolved over the years into a strategic quality partnership. Post-tender quality assurance services offered by SABS will ensure that products that are delivered during the life-cycle of a tender will be tested and monitored throughout the tender period to ensure consistent quality of products are distributed to users.
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NETFA boosts its testing capability with new Buck-boost current Injection equipment

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has increased its testing capacity at the National Electrical Test Facility (NETFA) by purchasing a set of new Buck-boost current injection machines. NETFA becomes the only facility on the continent with the testing capability that the new machines offer.

The Short Circuit laboratory has been fitted with six new Buck-boost current injection machines and one supply unit. All the equipment has been fitted, calibrated and is operational for testing. The new equipment has improved the efficiencies of the laboratory through the assembly of low voltage equipment, reduced the turnaround times of the testing processes and increased the reliability of temperature rise tests.

More low voltage equipment can now be assembled to be simultaneously tested from the same supply source. Overall a week of testing time can be reduced to two or three days. Most tests are conducted against the South African National Standard (SANS) series for Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies - SANS 61439.

The investment in the new equipment is part of the turnaround strategy of SABS to ensure that it continues to offer and deliver quality conformance testing services. SABS has been in the business of testing electro-technical equipment, products and appliances since the 1990s.

The relationship with the Department of Health and SABS spans more than decade and has evolved over the years into a strategic quality partnership. Post-tender quality assurance services offered by SABS will ensure that products that are delivered during the life-cycle of a tender will be tested and monitored throughout the tender period to ensure consistent quality of products are distributed to users.
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One of the new Buck-boost current injection machines that can accommodate greater assemblies of low voltage equipment that can be tested simultaneously from a single supply source

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Turnaround strategy regarding Appliances, Geyser and Electricity Meter Laboratory

Dear Valued Client

The SABS is committed to improve communication with customers and stakeholders in an effort to improve the quality of our services and in turn customer satisfaction. This letter focusses on the progress made to improve our testing service delivery to the Appliances, Geyser as well as Electricity Metering Industries.

Herewith our feedback in addressing some of your challenges concerning the Appliances, Geyser as well as Electricity Metering Laboratories

1. Customer Specific Requirements (CSR)

We are pleased that the issue of ‘partial testing’ has been resolved through the introduction of testing to customer specific requirements (CSR). In the letter that sent to the industry in November 2018, the SABS has committed itself to the re-introduction of this much needed service to you. We count on your support in this journey as we improve our service offering in line with your requirements. To this end, you are more than welcome to contact us with your enquiries in line with such testing services and we will endeavour to facilitate your requests within the constraints of our policies and capabilities.

2. Boiler Plant Major Refurbishment Project Shutdown

One of the critical service requirements for testing operations is the availability of environmental conditions (i.e. temperature and humidity). Conditions are a very critical element of testing in the; Appliances, Geyser as well as Electricity Metering Laboratories. The SABS laboratory infrastructure is in need of a major plant refurbishment. The SABS EXCO scheduled the first phase of this much needed refurbishment of our Central Boiler Plant. During the holiday period of 14 December 2018 to 31 January 2019, a complete SABS Boiler Plant shutdown was scheduled as a risk measure to minimise total disruptions and enhance future risk management capabilities.

As of Monday 08 February 2019, we confirm that most Appliances Laboratory conditions have been restored and we are ready to start testing with immediate effect in the majority of areas that were previously affected. Appliances (Cooking Appliances, Dishwasher, Thermostats), Geyser, as well as Electricity Metering laboratories can proceed with testing as part of the first phase of conditions restoration The only exception is with the Laundry Equipment Laboratory which will still be out of commission for a period of four weeks following the 8th February 2019. The unfortunate need for atwo phased approach arose as a result of the thermo-coil part failure necessary to control conditions to this particular Laboratory. Our suppliers have advised the SABS that this is a made-to-order part, resulting in the unfortunate lead time. We are targeting that the Laundry Equipment Laboratory will be back in operation by 4 March 2019.

We have furthermore identified the risk associated with centralised s conditions provision and control and the SABS Management is progressing with an alternative decentralised risk management strategy. Therefore in parallel with the Boiler Plant refurbishment execution, our Facilities Department were also working to decentralise the environmental condition sourcing for the Appliances (Cooking Equipment, Dishwasher, Laundry Equipment, Thermostats, AV Equipment), Geyser, as well as Electricity Metering Laboratories. This approach has been proven for laboratories such as the Appliances: Refrigerator Laboratory and we envisage finalising the localisation of the sources of environmental conditions and control to the targeted Labs by end of July 2019.

3. Geyser Laboratory

The SABS has committed to spend about R4m in the current financial year to upgrade the Geyser Laboratory. The NRCS has embarked on enforcing VC 9006 (geyser equipment: Class B labelling requirement), and our testing capacity and turnaround times were identified as insufficient. Currently, the SABS is only able to test three water heaters in every 8 weeks of the 49 operational weeks in a given year. Given the number of market demand, it is for this reason that the SABS’ current testing capacity was concluded to be inadequate. The Geyser Laboratory investment aims at testing process automation and increase the number of test benches from three to four. As such, the majority of the test work being automated, the Lab will realize 25% increase in available capacity per annum while turnaround times are improved by 50%.

In the efforts to enhance quality assurance in our testing services, we are also performing “interlab testing” with our competitors in the space of SANS 151 particularly on the “standing loss test” as this has been identified as a risk factor in the conformity of sample products tested in our laboratories. The first inter-laboratory comparison was conducted in August 2018 on a 100L sized geyser, where results were confirmed to be aligned with very minimal/negligible variances among the labs. Before the end of the first quarter in 2019 we plan to also conduct an interlab testing comparison exercise on a 200L size geyser.

4. Electricity Meter Laboratory

Although the SABS Electricity Metering Laboratory was one of the labs affected by the loss of environmental conditions, we can confirm that we are now operational and capable to meet customer requirements. However, in the third quarter period of 2018, the SABS NETFA facility lost, due to retirement, the resource skill responsible for Load Switch testing. We are currently re-capacitating the area through training and development of our existing resources. During this period the load switch test will be subcontracted to an international partner laboratory. We will keep you posted on developments and, as a reminder, our procedures require thatwe always attain your formal authorisation every time we subcontract work to other labs outside the SABS.

5. Appliances Laboratories

The NRCS has embarked on enforcing VC 9008 (Appliances equipment: Class B labelling requirement). We confirm that we have been fully equipped in terms of infrastructure as well as the development of testing methods to fulfil the testing requirements of SANS 941 standard in the following appliances and their associated test standards:

  • Refrigerators – SANS 62552
  • Household Electric Cooking Appliances – SANS 60350-1
  • Dishwashers – SANS 50252
  • Washing machines – SANS 1695
  • Tumble dryers – SANS 61121
  • Washer-dryer combinations – SANS 50229
  • Standby testing for AV equipment – SANS 62087

As such, with the stability of the Laboratories environmental conditions confirmed as of 08 February 2019, we also confirm that joining the Refrigerators Laboratory, the Appliances (Cooking Equipment and Dishwasher Laboratories) are ready to start testing.

Our testing capabilities and capacities for the aforementioned laboratories in the scope of SANS 941:2014 (Energy Efficiency of Electrical and Electronic Equipment) test standard are as detailed below:
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In the efforts to enhance quality assurance in our Appliances Laboratory testing space, through joint efforts with the UNDP and the DoE, we have contracted services with regards to training and technical support as benchmarked with an external service provider. We envisage that the contracted service provider will assist the SABS Appliances team to alleviate some of the “teething problems” associated with the commissioning of our new Energy Efficiency testing facilities, as well as advise on improving testing efficiencies. We have scheduled to conclude these activities duringMarch 2019.

6. Appliances Laboratories

The SABS has initiated the process of recruiting suitable and qualified senior technical skills to help improve quality and instil a continuous improvement culture and capability within the Appliances Business Unit Laboratories. We have developed an intensive on boarding and training schedule to ensure that the right candidate will be fully capable to manage the technical and client service deliverables required by you, our valued customers. We are currently working on ensuring that we have the new Principal Test Officers appointed in the SABS Appliances Business Unit by the 01 April 2019.

7. Improved communication

We are committed to effective engagement with our stakeholders and open to listening to feedback regarding your requirements, while equally ensuring that you remain informed on key business decisions and development at SABS. We are serious about ensuring that we adopt an inclusive approach and we will continue to send you business updates and ensure that we always live up to our commitments.

Please continue to share your experiences with us so that we can continue to improve our services. We are all excited to be part of this turnaround strategy and appreciate your support.

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Slip Resistant Footwear can prevent workplace accidents

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) is the only organisation in South Africa that is able to test for slip resistance in occupational and safety footwear. The state of the art machine that tests for slip resistance under various conditions was procured and operational since 2015. The safety of footwear can be validated via tests in accordance with South African National Standards (SANS), specifically SANS 20245:2014.

In some industries, such as construction and mining, it is a safety regulation that footwear cannot slip beyond a certain specification. The potential of slipping can cause severe injuries, broken bones and even death, depending on the environment and nature of the slip. Oily, greasy or wet environments require a higher degree of slip resistance than field workers or workers that need shoes designed for easier movement. The degree of slip resistance on safety footwear is required and in most industries is a compulsory basic requirement.

To ensure that footwear meets the safety and slip resistance requirements, footwear needs to be tested and the results independently verified and validated. Industries and workers who purchase safety footwear need to be able to ensure that slip resistance is tested and indicated, for safety and legal reasons. Slippage requirements differ for industries and these specifications are contained in various SANS. SANS are developed by various industry bodies and public representatives to ensure that SANS are aligned to internationally accepted standards and include South African requirements.

Slip resistance can be tested with specific equipment and in a laboratory environment. SABS regularly calibrates its test equipment to ensure that test results are accurate and valid. It is important to bear in mind that slip resistance is usually one element of a multitude of tests that include comfort and other safety features.

Some of the common types of tests that are conducted on footwear include: slip resistance; abrasion resistance; compression of toe caps; impact on toe caps; anti-static tests; interlayer bond strength; tensile strength; tear strength; flexing of upper (leather and gumboots); water vapour permeability and coefficient; and hydrolysis. These tests are done to specifications contained in various standards such as SANS 20344-7: 2014 Personal Protective Equipment; SANS 421:2017; SANS 942: 2016; SANS 1492: 2015; and SANS 1482: 2016. SANS are available for purchase via

Following a business decision in 2015 to stop ‘partial testing’, the organisation has revised its approach to include a risk based implementation of customer specific requirements (CSR). This approach will ensure that manufacturers are able to test modifications of products to SANS or for specific manufacturing specifications, or for tendering purposes. SABS has been in talks with various organisations within the footwear, textile and leather industry and are currently developing more responsive service models to ensure that industry needs are met more effectively.

In addition to revising the business model, SABS will be encouraging internships and workplace learning opportunities so that young learners are able to learn about testing in the industry. Safety footwear is 100% designated area for local content and SABS is the state appointed organisation to provide these verification services. SABS also provides consignment inspection services to ensure that batches of products are made and delivered to specifications.

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