SABS turnaround plan re-introduces customer-specific requirement testing

March 6th, 2019, Published in Articles: EE Publishers, Articles: Energize, Articles: EngineerIT, Articles: Vector

Acting SABS chief executive officer Garth Strachan reported to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry that the turnaround plan, approved by the minister of Trade and Industry in January, had brought back stability to the entity and that the SABS had reintroduced customer-specific requirement (CSR) testing.

According to Strachan, a key element in stabilising the SABS was to address the laboratory turnaround and this presented a need to resolve the issue of “partial testing” which was 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 Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) were inundated with customer complaints and requests for us to reinstate the provision of partial testing.”

He says the SABS had to change its strategy and create the capacity to deliver on customers’ business needs.

“As a result, the SABS turnaround plan has introduced a risk-based approach to customer-specific requirements testing. We still have a long journey ahead but initial industry engagement shave validated our decision. We call on industry associations and companies with 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-administrators’ appointment until end-October 2019.

“The diagnostic report undertaken by the co-administrators and the disclaimer audit opinion by the auditor general demonstrates that the decision by the minister to place the SABS under administration was taken timeously and in the public interest”, says Strachan.

He says the turnaround plan has begun to deliver results on cost containment, revenue generation and procurement process optimisation. The SABS has budgeted R300-million for capital expenditure of which R58-million was approved for the upgrading of critical testing infrastructure in the petroleum, chemicals and materials and agro-processing laboratories; R80-million for the digitisation of business processes and the remaining R95-million for infrastructure maintenance including the National Electrical Test Facility (NETFA) in Olifantsfontein.

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 has identified 64 projects, 15 of which are in project execution. The SABS local content verification programme still depends on an approved government funding model which could open new verification opportunities in the mining sector.

Contact Nils Flaatten, SABS, Tel 082 409 2020,


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