South African Bureau of Standards: briefing


31 August 2000
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Meeting report

This Report is a Contact Natural Resource Information Service
Taking Parliament to People, and People to Parliament


31 August 2000

Documents handed out: none
Presentation notes will be made available by Friday, September 8th on the Contact Web page ( in the documents section.

SABS addressed the committee on five separate topics. Four presentations were given in total.

The promotion of ambient air quality & Vehicle Emissions and Fuel regulations in international trade
Dr Randall Carolisson gave a rushed presentation of both the Ambient Air Quality and Vehicle Emissions and Fuel Regulations due to a shortage of time for all five SABS topics. See proposal for more information.

Mr Grove (ANC) asked Dr Carolisson whether he felt that South Africa has the resources and means to do the continuous research it takes to accurately assess the effect of pollutants. He asked whether SABS could be of service in doing some of this research. He also inquired about the possibility of forming a partnership between the department and SABS.

Dr Carolisson agreed that the right approach to combating pollutants would be to conduct continuous on-site monitoring. He said that this is happening to a degree but the set-up of proper mobile test stations would assist with this a great deal. At this point SABS is looking for money to put these stations in place.

Mr September (ANC) brought up the taxi industry and their use of diesel fuel. He said that latest reports say that modern diesel engines do not seem to be much worse for the environment than standard fuel.

Dr Carolisson responded with the statistic that 75% of the pollutants in Cape Town are a byproduct of diesel fuel only because the quality of the diesel is so low. Groups are afoot to reduce the sulfur in diesel fuel.

Mr De Camara (DP) asked whether Dr Carolisson felt we had the skilled labour in South Africa to deal with the research required and to staff the test stations.

Dr Carolisson agreed that there is an apparent shortage of skilled labour to complete the fieldwork. He said there is a programme in place to train Technickon students. They are also looking into training students overseas to come back and apply their knowledge in South Africa.

Wildlife standards in Conservation
Mr Graham Holloway presented SABS's code of practice on the translocation of certain species of wild herbivore. This standard covers aspects of translocation, such as the capture, transportation, temporary accommodation and release of wild herbivores, such as antelope, elephant, rhino, hippo, giraffe, and zebra. Its provisions are intended to minimise the occurrence of stress, pain, injury and death of wild animals during the translocation process, and to ensure the welfare of the animals is protected.

Ms Chalmers (ANC) asked whether a code of practice would be sufficient to proceed with implementation. Where does this fit in with the Animal Management Act?

Mr Holloway responded that the SABS hopes that having a set standard will be a motivator for legal judgment. SABS also believes that insurance policies may adopt their set of standards, which would assist in the implementation of this code of practice.

Status of Tyre and Rubber Recycling Programme in South Africa
Mr Zen Fourie presented a video on the productivity and effectiveness of rubber recycling programs. He proposed that the establishment of these programs in South Africa would create jobs, be an effective way of tyre disposal, and would result in a cleaner environment. A funding suggestion Mr Fourie put forward was to place an additional charge on the price of tyres to cover the costs of the program.

Mr De Camara (DP) asked if Mr Fourie had thought about the cost involved in people transporting tyres to the recycling plant. He asked if it would be worth it for people in poorer communities to participate.

Mr Fourie responded by saying that he did not have information on the cost of transport to the plants. The research that has been done reports that a R4.00 to R5.00 levy is feasible which may be enough incentive.

The SABS crystal grading scheme of the hospitality industry
Mr Barry Paul spoke about the need to move forward with an international standard for South African hotels. He said that in 1998 SATOUR stopped accrediting and auditing hotels. SABS is concerned with the length of time it is taking to establish a standard for this industry. They feel the RSA grading may not be equitable.

Dr Olver (Director General) voiced his opinion that it would be unproductive to move forward with this discussion. He said that this topic has been under extensive debate and all opinions were not fairly represented by the presentation. Dr Olver assured the committee that the Minister has discussed this matter at length and plans to move forward with an individually driven grading system.

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