Business Day

Reg­u­la­tor vows to clear im­porters’ back­log

- LINDA EN­SOR Business · Cape Town · U.S. Chamber of Commerce · Geordin Hill-Lewis

CAPE TOWN — The na­tional reg­u­la­tor for com­pul­sory spec­i­fi­ca­tions has made an un­der­tak­ing to ex­pe­dite is­su­ing let­ters of au­thor­ity to im­porters.

Im­porters need the let­ters be­fore they can bring prod­ucts into SA and are con­cerned back­logs will per­sist be­cause im­ple­men­ta­tion might be slow.

The reg­u­la­tor is re­spon­si­ble for pre­vent­ing un­safe and non­com­pli­ant prod­ucts from en­ter­ing SA and has to check that they meet spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

It han­dles about 1,300 ap­pli­ca­tions for let­ters of au­thor­ity a month. There is a back­log of 1,653 ap­pli­ca­tions that have been out­stand­ing for more than 120 days. While wait­ing for ap­provals, im­porters have to fork out large sums of money to store prod­ucts at ports of en­try.

The reg­u­la­tor’s Aso­gan Mood­ley as­sured MPs that, with the use of more in­spec­tors to un­der­take eval­u­a­tions, the back­log ex­ceed­ing 120 days would be cleared by Oc­to­ber.

Also, there will be no need to ob­tain a new let­ter of au­thor­ity for the ad­di­tional im­por­ta­tion of the same prod­uct for which a let­ter of au­thor­ity was pre­vi­ously is­sued.

These re­newals will be treated as low-risk prod­ucts, as will im­ported com­po­nents sub­ject to qual­ity con­trols by do­mes­tic man­u­fac­tur­ers.

Reg­u­la­tor GM Bon­gani Khany­ile said pre-im­port con­form­ity test­ing in coun­tries of ori­gin would be in­tro­duced and cer­tifi­cates is­sued.

DA trade and in­dus­try spokesman Ge­ordin Hill-Lewis and Eu­ro­pean Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try chair­man Ste­fan Sakoschek wel­comed the an­nounce­ment. But South African Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try pol­icy and ad­vo­cacy man­ager Hellen Ndlovu was con­cerned about the speed of im­ple­men­ta­tion.

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