Regulator vows to clear importers’ backlog
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.